Charities have welcomed a £13 million package announced by international development secretary Douglas Alexander to fund pension contributions for health workers while they volunteer.
Under current arrangements public sector staff who take time out to volunteer abroad miss out on pension contributions.
VSO chief executive Mark Goldring said the move was a ‘strong and welcome endorsement' of international volunteering.
Around 10 per cent of all VSO volunteers are from the health sector, a figure it hopes can be boosted with the additional pension support.
RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: ‘Nurses who volunteer make huge personal and financial sacrifices to help improve the healthcare systems in developing countries. This government recognition of the sacrifice that volunteers make will go a long way to ensuring NHS staff who volunteer overseas are not penalised.'
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