Nurses in England look set for a further battle with the government after Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the staggered 2.5% pay award will "not change".
He added he believes the decision to stage the rise is right, but admitted it is never going to get a "round of applause".
His comments are bound to increase the anger of unions who feel staff in England are being treated unfairly.
The devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already agreed to pay the wage increase in one go.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has started carrying out an indicative ballot of its 200,000 members over industrial action, while The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is currently balloting 23,000 members on their next move.
Dr Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said: "The government continues to make the argument that a UK-wide pay deal for nurses would be inflationary despite research by the London School of Economics that showed the impact would be a minuscule four thousandths of one percent.
"With three out of four UK nations now agreeing to pay the recommended award, the economic case can be seen for what it always was - illogical, spurious and nonsensical.
"Our campaign for pay justice for nurses is based on a very simple principle - one nursing family, one pay deal."
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"How can you respect such an illogical and devisive decision? It is an insult to all nursing staff (qualified or not) in England. Are we lesser beings than our collegues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?" - Name and address supplied
"Mr Johnson has no idea of the work nurses do, he is not living in the real world. We are taking on more and more responsibilities for no reward, his convictions definitely need 'updating'" - Name and address supplied
"As a Scottish nurse and Unison member can I reassure all my "brothers and sisters" that we are unanimous in our support of you, and in our support for action to try to get our profession back on an equal footing with other public sector professionals. After the con of Agenda for Change (are any of you old E graders who are keeping your workplace together without financial recognition of your skills, knowledge, increased responsibility and effort seeing little change in your pay?) this is the last straw" - Name and address supplied
"Illogical, spurious nonsensical and unfair. If Welsh and Scottish nurses are treated differently this is discrimination surely" - Name and address supplied
"He needs to live in the real world and give us a larger pay award. Most of us work over 37.5 hours per week to provide the best care. We need to stop nurses leaving the NHS and to do this give us a better pay incentive" - Heather Baines, Bolton PCT
"As a profession of eternal "copers" and "make doers" I believe it is time for us as nurses to make a profound stand for our profession to preserve our status for the future. Ask yourself one question, Mr Johnson, would your esteemed colleagues in the Houses of parliament be satisfied with a staged pay rise of 2.5%? Industrial action is the only way to stop the government walking all over us and targeting us every year as the whipping boy when it comes to pay rises" - Jason Holland, Manchester
"It is an outrage in a job where staff feel undervalued and persecuted that we can't even get paid. Here we are nearly in August with not even the 1.5%, never mind the whole lot. Two degrees, 15 years and for what?" - Name and address supplied
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