NHS staff have been offered a three-year pay deal in a move which will ensure job security and stability for the health service, Health Secretary Alan Johnson has said.
The proposed deal will see more than one million staff get a rise of 2.75% in the first year, from this month, followed by further increases of 2.4% in 2009/10 and 2.25% in 2010/11.
It means nurse would start on more than £20,000 a year with experienced midwives having the potential to earn more than £32,000.
Hospital doctors and dentists will see rises of 2.2% and 3.4% while doctors' earnings will increase by 2.2%.
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "We have always said we would only consider signing up to a three-year pay deal if it was fair and offered nurses protection against future rises in inflation. We are delighted to put the RCN's name to a proposal that does just that."
But Paul Kenny, general secretary of the GMB union, said: "This offer may be enough to head off calls for industrial action in the NHS, but we will have to wait for the reaction of our members."