The chief executive of the NHS appears to be on a collision course with GPs after announcing he is determined to freeze their pay until at least March 2009.
David Nicholson said that wage rises in the service had been "unsustainable", and added that pay needs to be "squeezed".
Up to half of the money ploughed into the NHS over the past few years has gone on increased wages - with much of it due to the new contract negotiated between the Government and GPs.
Figures show that the typical family doctor now earns around £110,000, although some are believed to be earning in excess of £200,000. However, their pay deal has been frozen for the past two years.
Giving evidence to the Commons Health Select Committee, Mr Nicholson said that the NHS wage bill could not continue to rise at the same rate.
He said: "Our evidence to the (independent) pay review bodies for next year shows that we would expect pay increases of 2% for most of our staff, 1.5% for doctors, and again nothing for GPs.
"That, I think, is the way we can squeeze the pay bill in the NHS, and at the same time focus our attention on all the opportunities that particularly the GP contract and the consultant contract give us to improve productivity."