The government wants to see pay rises for doctors – and dentists – limited to 2% in 2009, in a bid to strike a balance "between fairness to staff and affordability".
The Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) will now consider the recommendation from NHS Employers, the group that negotiates on behalf of the government.
The DDRB will review all evidence, including from doctors, before making a recommendation to the government on what pay rises should be.
The 2% is far below current rates of inflation, which, according to the consumer prices index, stood at 5.2% in September, up from 4.7% the previous month.
The BMA said it would be publishing its own evidence to the DDRB later this week on what it suggests to be a "fair and appropriate pay award for doctors based on the available evidence".
NHS Employers said it recognised that "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: "A balance has to be struck on fairness for patients, fairness for staff and fairness for the taxpayer, and we believe 2% strikes an appropriate balance, while being affordable to the service."
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"In another article you state a 2.1% fall in 06/07. I'm aware of costs going up, but not income in 07/08 and 08/09, and inflation at 5%. This is becoming ludicrous" – Justin Pearce, Northampton
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