I believe strongly that the passion, commitment, and specialist knowledge our doctors, nurses and other NHS staff is what makes our NHS so special. I recognise that staff morale is vital to maintaining staff commitment to services.
I also know that delivering a safer 7-day NHS for patients is a priority and record numbers of frontline staff are now employed, with around 6,500 more nurses in the NHS compared to 2010.
The independent pay review bodies, the NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration apply their expertise and objectivity in making recommendations to Government.
You may be aware that the NHS is one of few public sector workforces that receive incremental pay. Around half of staff on Agenda for Change (AfC) contracts receive incremental pay of around 3 per cent on average. For example a typical qualified nurse (Band 5) can expect seven years of pay progression averaging around 3.8 per cent a year, in addition to annual pay awards.
To help support NHS staff in their duty of care, the Government has committed to increase NHS spending in England by £10 billion in real terms by 2020. By cutting bureaucracy and championing higher standards, Ministers have ensured this money goes on frontline care not administration.
I am proud the NHS has been rated the best healthcare system in the world, something that is only possible thanks to the dedication and hard work of all NHS staff, supported by a strong economy.