Keep freeze on doctors’ wages say employers

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The pay for NHS doctors should be frozen for a third year in a row, the body representing health service employers said.

NHS Employers said that if doctors’ wages were to increase patients’ quality of care could suffer and there could be job losses across the health service.

The body confirmed it has recommended that the public sector pay freeze for doctors working in the health service should be extended for a further year.

It told the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) the move is “essential to protect services and minimise job losses”.

NHS Employers said it does not believe increases in national pay rates from April next year are necessary or affordable.

Last week financial experts warned that monetary pressures on the health service, which has been ordered to make £20bn in efficiency savings by 2015, will start to bite next year as the two-year public sector pay freeze comes to an end in April.

The King’s Fund report said an average staff pay increase of one per cent would add £400m to £500m to NHS expenditure.

The NHS Employers submission to the review body said the remuneration package for doctors remains “highly competitive” when pension and non-pay benefits are taken into account.

Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said: “Everyone, including doctors, knows these are challenging times for us all. The simple truth is that NHS organisations cannot afford an unnecessary increase in doctors’ pay rates without it impacting on patient care.

“We understand the frustration felt by many doctors about freezing pay scales, but we know they recognise the financial challenges facing all organisations.

“Sixty five pence of every NHS pound is spent on staff and they do a tremendous job. We must, however, make sure that we get the best possible value for the money we have available to us. We need to achieve a balance among the interests of patients, taxpayers and staff.”