Those behind a review into encouraging top-earning doctors to take on more shifts have ruled-out commenting on rumours of pension tax-break incentives.
High-flying doctors are turning down additional shifts because taking on extra hours can see them hit with an increased tax bill on their pension contributions.
At present, due to recent pension rule changes that have come into force, workers who earn more than £110,000 face more stringent taxes on their contributions, landing senior consultants with unexpected tax bills of tens of thousands of pounds in some cases.
The Times reports that ministers are preparing to give tax relief worth hundreds of millions of pounds to those earning more than £110,000 in an attempt to lift the barrier to consultants agreeing to work more.
The newspaper claims that Treasury mandarins are considering raising the current pension threshold from £110,000 to £150,000, a move that could free-up 90% of consultants to agree to extra shifts and help cut NHS waiting lists.
The tax break would apply to all workers, not just those in the health sector.
A Treasury spokesman told PA news agency: “We do not comment on speculation about tax changes.”
Whitehall officials are currently conducting a review into how to lift the block on top doctors choosing to stay at home rather than take on more hospital hours.
If the Treasury does decide to introduce new measures in a bid to solve the problem, an announcement is expected to be made by Chancellor Sajid Javid at the Budget in March.