Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told ITV News 6,000 nurses could potentially lose their jobs if all health workers receive the recommended 1% pay rise.
Mr Hunt told ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship: "The reality that is if we give hospitals pay bills that they can't meet they'll only have one alternative, and that's to lay off nurses.
"The numbers show that potentially 6,000 nurses would be laid off if we accepted the pay review body's recommendations, and that's not a risk I'm prepared to take for patients."
More top news
A British scientist says the age women may be able to conceive children could soon be significantly extended.
Simon Cowell admitted he was "so embarrassed" after his shirt burst open during an X Factor audition.
Following the promise of further powers for Scotland, David Cameron is now talking about a new deal for the other home nations.