NHS trusts have been ordered to immediately boost doctors’ pay in order to avoid a winter crisis sparked by pension and tax rules. Hospital managers have been instructed to have urgent “extraordinary” meetings to agree extra payments in order to ensure there are sufficient medics to cover shifts. Trusts have also been ordered to open more beds, following an NHS “stocktake” process to assess readiness for winter. A letter from Dame Pauline Philip, NHS national urgent and emergency care director, warns that staff shortages are the “most significant challenge” facing the health service now. Complex rules mean hospital consultants and GPs can be hit with tax rates of more than 90 per cent on their earnings – including their pension contributions – if they earn more than £110,000 a year. As a result, medics across the country are substantially cutting back their hours, fuelling longer waiting times and extra pressures on Accident & Emergency departments. Boris Johnson has promised to “fix” the problem, with the Treasury to review the rules affecting high-earners, and changes to be introduced from next April. Now the letter, revealed by Health Service Journal, says all trusts at risk of shortages must offer extra pay to… Read full this story
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