The Department of Health has said it wants NHS staff to forgo their below inflation pay rise and use the money to modernise NHS pay structures.
In its submission to the NHS pay review body, the Department of Health said the NHS is facing the biggest financial challenge in its history, and was facing a "stark choice" as pay rises could have an impact on safe staffing levels.
[It can] either pay staff more, accepting that this may do little to improve the quality of care for patients and is likely to restrict the number of staff employers can afford to employ, or, to reform contracts to enable employers to use their pay bill, as part of their overall employment offer, to maintain safe staffing levels, with stronger links to performance, quality and productivity.
The Government's view, therefore, remains that basic pay increases should only be implemented if there is strong evidence that recruitment, retention, morale or motivation issues require this.
More top news
Most disabled people say they are treated differently by strangers and reveal common gaffes for Scope's #EndTheAwkward campaign.
Ideas are being sought to get more people involved in sport after participation figures fall three years after the London 2012 Olympics.
Scotland's exams body has reassured pupils that "no learner will be disadvantaged" after a backlash against this year's Higher maths exam.