Experts claim doctors feel overpaid and pay freeze is 'harmless'

Doctors feel overpaid and a pay freeze would not hit recruitment and retention, policy experts told MPs.

The comments came after the government announced in the Budget that public sector pay would be capped at 1% for two years from 2011.

At a House of Commons health select committee evidence session on value for money in the NHS last month, Andrew Haldenby, director of right-wing think tank Reform, said savings could be made on pay.

Chancellor Alistair Darling has demanded £11bn of savings across government. The DoH has pledged £4.35bn of savings from 2011.

Mr Haldenby said: ‘There is an opportunity to look at doctors' pay levels and bring them back.  Doctors do feel overpaid and feel that they have got too generous a deal in the last contracts.'

Professor John Appleby, chief economist at The King's Fund, said GPs have had a pay freeze for two years. But he said that a further freeze would have ‘little impact' on recruitment and retention.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said of the view that doctors feel overpaid: ‘It defies logic. The GP contract is for a working week that's 40% longer than the standard working week.'

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