Some NHS hospital consultants are earning more than £100,000 a year in overtime payments.

The sums, often around £600 for four hours, are paid on top of basic salaries and bonuses. Consultants have been accused of playing the system at a time when the NHS is trying to save money, but doctors blame poor planning by managers.

The figures were released to the BBC after a Freedom of Information request. Basic pay for consultants averages £90,000 a year, which covers 10 four-hour blocks a week.

Depending on what speciality they are in, consultants can earn tens of thousands of pounds on top of their basic pay.

Consultants involved in common forms of surgery, such as ear, nose and throat and hip and knees, tend to do the most overtime alongside anaesthetists. Others, working in areas such as geriatrics, are likely to get very little.