The Government is set to increase the NHS staff pay rise to three per cent in the coming days, it is understood. 

In March a proposed one per cent rise for staff was announced which was met with widespread criticism.

Defending the proposal at the time Matt Hancock, the former Health Secretary, said the decision was made “on the basis of affordability”.

Boris Johnson also defended the proposal, but added that the final figures would be set once independent pay review bodies had given their recommendations in the spring. 

“I’m massively grateful to all NHS staff and indeed for social care workers who’ve been heroic throughout the pandemic,” Mr Johnson said following the backlash.

"What we have done is try to give them as much as we can at the present time. The independent pay review body will obviously look at what we’ve proposed and come back.

"Don’t forget that there has been a public sector pay freeze, we’re in pretty tough times.”

The NHS Pay Review Body gave its recommendations to ministers weeks ago and called for a three per cent rise, Politico reported on Monday. The announcement of the two per cent increase is expected imminently.

The Royal College of Nurses previously called the proposal of one per cent “pitiful” and demanded a 12.5 per cent pay rise.

The union subsequently began organising a £35m fund that could be used to compensate nurses if they wish to strike.

Dave Dawes, RCN Council chair, said at the time: “Given all the messages [the Government] have sent this week I think we are heading for industrial action and I think it’s up to the government to change the direction of travel.”