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NHS to face costs of half a billion if staff receive a 1% pay increase, says the employers organisation

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The NHS employers organisation says the health service would face further costs of £400 to £500 million if all NHS staff groups receive a 1% increase to their pay scale next year.

The organisation has already urged no pay scale rise for doctors and dentists, and has said that the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) should not recommend an increase in pay scales over the next financial year for staff.

In an annual submission yesterday to the PRB it detailed the considerable financial challenges faced by employers, who stress that they want to minimise job losses and ask that pay scales are frozen next year.

The submission also explains that changes to the NHS Pension Scheme do not release any money to employers for pay and reward. It says planned increases to employee contributions to the NHS Pension Scheme should not be used to argue for any additional increase in pay rates, given that pensions are deferred pay.

Dean Royles, director of the NHS employers organisation said: "We fully appreciate that many staff are frustrated because pay scales have been frozen for two years. These recommendations are not made lightly.

"We believe they are essential to protect jobs and maintain the quality of care the NHS provides."

Royles added: "The harsh reality is that the NHS simply cannot afford to increase pay scales as well. If pay levels do increase next year it will inevitably put further pressure on patient care and could affect job security."

Christina McAnea, national secretary of Unison said: "NHS staff are being hit from all sides. There are massive cuts to services and to jobs despite the fact that demands on the NHS are growing every year."

Unison said increased pension contributions were likely to lead to a further reduction in take-home pay of up to 6% by 2015.