Pay rises for doctors and dentists should be limited to 2% in 2009, the body which negotiates on behalf of the government has said.
NHS employers said a balance had to be struck “between fairness to staff and affordability”.
Its comments have been submitted to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB), which will look at all evidence from doctors, dentists and other bodies before making a recommendation to the government by how much pay should rise.
A 2% increase would be well below the rate of inflation, with new figures showing the consumer prices index at 5.2% in September, while inflation according to the retail prices index is 5%.
NHS Employers said: “Inflationary pressures and efficiency expectations are putting pressure on services, and any unfunded cost pressures from pay – which makes up a majority of NHS spending – could threaten care of patients”.
Gill Bellord, director of pay, pensions and employment relations at NHS employers, said: “We believe that the whole employment reward package is paying dividends. Recruitment and retention is reasonably stable, morale and motivation are improving and services to patients are benefiting as a result.
“It would be wrong to jeopardise such encouraging progress with unaffordable pay increases.”
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