Plans to ramp up commercialisation in the NHS will lead to more money being paid out in overtime as trusts are unable to plan for the future, consultants have warned.

The advice comes after the BBC reported that some consultants are earning more than £100,000 a year in overtime payments on top of their normal salary and bonuses.

There is no set rate, but senior doctors are often paid around £600 for working four extra hours. The average annual salary of a full-time consultant in the UK currently stands at nearly £90,000. This pays for 10 blocks of four hours a week.

Trusts that want consultants to work beyond that point frequently pay between £500 and £700 for four-hour sessions, according to documents seen by the BBC.

Dr Ian Wilson, deputy chairman of the BMA’s Consultants Committee, said: “The fact is that this happens because trusts can’t plan for the future - a situation which will get much worse as the government’s NHS white paper seeks to marketise healthcare even more - and so have to bring in extra help as a quick fix when things get desperate.

He also added that the payments are usually made to hard-pressed specialists who are already overstretched.