A Department of Health spokeswoman said no decisions had been made on whether funding allocated for a 1% pay rise would be used to modernise NHS pay structures, but stressed the plans would help "protect jobs and improve care".
Under the current pay structures, staff automatically receive incremental rises by going up different pay grades. The spokesperson said:
Many NHS staff have continued to receive pay rises of up to 6% and we want to keep working with the trade unions and employers on affordable pay.
The measures we are proposing will help increase quality for patients and help us realise our vision of an affordable seven-day service.
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Almost a fifth of hospital patients were also unable to reach their call button, a report warned.
At least 2,400 cancer sufferers die needlessly every year because their GP does not refer them to a specialist quickly enough.
It comes after shadow chancellor John McDonnell made a surprise U-turn on the Tory budget vote which is due later today.