Published: 06/10/2005 Volume 115 No. 5976 Page 6

Pay rises for health professionals should be capped at 2.5 per cent in April 2006 to avoid worsening deficits, NHS Employers says.

An 'affordable settlement' should be reached as earnings are falling and inflation is dipping, the organisation argued in evidence submitted to health pay review bodies this week.

The evidence is based on the views of managers across England.

The organisation is also calling for the pay review bodies to agree to a two or three-year pay deal so trusts have 'some stability'. 'Our evidence calls for a pay award in 2006-07 that is affordable for trusts, ' says NHS Employers head of pay and negotiation Gill Bellord.

But Unison head of health Karen Jennings said that '2.5 per cent is disappointingly low, and sends out all the wrong signals to hardworking healthcare professionals'.

'This offer will do nothing to help improve recruitment and retention and will undermine morale.'

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