The announcement was made on Wednesday night, having been expected in Parliament earlier.
Pat Cullen, the RCN interim general secretary and chief executive, said: “After a shambolic day comes a shambolic announcement. When the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7 per cent, ministers are knowingly cutting pay for an experienced nurse by over £200 in real-terms.
“This announcement is light on detail. It must be fully funded with additional monies for the NHS and ringfenced for the workforce bill. Nursing staff will remain dignified in responding to what will be a bitter blow to many. But the profession will not take this lying down. We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.”
The British Medical Association complained that the deal does not cover 61,000 junior doctors. The Government said the review body was not asked to make recommendations for such groups, which are covered by multi-year deals.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the BMA council chairman, said: “It is disappointing that the announcement of a three per cent pay uplift for doctors in England does not adequately recognise the extraordinary contribution of doctors working in the most challenging period in their professional lives.”
Danny Mortimer, the chief executive of NHS Employers and the deputy chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “This is a positive outcome for NHS staff and, importantly is above the proposed one per cent uplift which many felt was insufficient, but this will need to be fully funded.
“The pay award will be welcomed by employers at a time when funding and services are stretched to unprecedented levels, and organisations continue to grapple with the rise in demand for care, but it will be important to understand the funding detail.”
The Unite union, which represents 100,000 health workers, said the pay level was ““grossly inadequate and underwhelming”.