NHS Employers has confirmed its recommendation that "unnecessary" pay rises for NHS doctors are frozen for the third year in a row.
In its annual submission to the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB), NHS employers said a freeze in NHS pay will help organisations "maintain the quality of NHS patient care, tackle unprecedented savings challenge and minimise job losses".
The organisation claimed NHS organisations have said the "unnecessary" cost of increasing doctors' pay would divert money away from the delivery of patient services.
Despite the current two-year pay freeze for doctors, it is said the earnings of individual doctors have increased between 3% and 8% per year as a result of incremental pay increases and progression through training.
NHS Employers claimed the remuneration package for doctors remains "highly competitive" when pension and non-pay benefits are taken into account. "Everyone, including doctors, knows these are challenging times for us all," said Dean Royles, Director of NHS Employers.
"The simple truth is that NHS organisations cannot afford an unnecessary increase in doctors' pay rates over the next year 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. Most doctors in the NHS already benefit from annual incremental pay increases and pay progression through training. Any additional increase is unaffordable for the NHS.
"We have asked the DDRB not to recommend increasing the national pay scales from April 2013. If we do increase pay, we risk serious consequences for the sustainability of some NHS services and their responsiveness to local needs. It will mean less investment for patient services and a greater risk of NHS job losses."
Dr Mark Porter, Chair of Council at the British Medical Association, said the claims made by NHS Employers "do not stand up to scrutiny".
“There is already a major problem with morale, with doctors at the front line dealing with huge efficiency savings and wholesale NHS reorganisation," he said.
“Junior doctors’ take-home pay is dropping, consultants’ pay has been frozen since 2009, and the latest earnings figures for GPs show that their net income continues to fall. On top of this, all doctors have just seen more taken out of their pay to fund higher pension contributions – while the value of their pension benefits is being cut – with further contribution increases due to follow.
Dr Porter confirmed the BMA will be publishing its own evidence to the DDRB early next week.”