Docs want whole of NHS to benefit from Cycle to Work scheme

Tax-exempt bicycle-buying loan scheme is not available to all NHS employees, a major failing on public health, say doctors
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Four doctors have written to the British Medical Journal urging more widespread uptake within the NHS of the Government's Cycle to Work scheme.

This scheme has boosted many UK bike shops, bringing in new customers.

The doctors, of Princess Royal University Hospital, Orpington, are Christopher Jack, specialist registrar in trauma and orthopaedics; Max Edwards, specialist registrar in trauma and orthopaedics; and Mirant Parikh, associate specialist. Samuel Rajaratnam, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, at Eastbourne District General hospital, East Sussex, also signed the letter.

The doctors stressed the many health benefits of cycling: "Cycling is one of the few physical activities that can be undertaken by most of the population as part of a daily routine."

But, argued the doctors, "despite the known health benefits of cycling to work, most NHS employees do not have access to the cycle to work scheme. Only 67 of the 418 trusts are participating. We advocate mass participation of NHS trusts to ensure the opportunity for health promotion in 1.2 million employees."

As NHS hospitals are very often the biggest employers in some towns and cities, such an extension of the Cycle to Work scheme would be welcomed by most British bike shops.

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