Speaking on the 72 year anniversary of the creation of the health service, Mr Hancock said NHS staff had been ‘incredible’ during the outbreak and their efforts should be formally recognised.
Britain will tonight mark the NHS anniversary with a nationwide round of applause at 5pm.
It follows the success of the weekly Clap for Carers during the coronavirus outbreak and it is hoped the applause will become an annual tradition.
Meanwhile, Mr Hancock this morning dismissed reports of a funding row between NHS bosses and the Treasury.
Health chiefs have reportedly told Rishi Sunak they need an extra £10 billion to prepare for a potential second wave of coronavirus.
But talks with the Treasury are said to have hit an impasse, prompting accusations that the Chancellor is breaking his pledge to give the NHS ‘whatever it needs’ to tackle the disease.
Matt Hancock told Sky News this morning that NHS workers should be ‘rewarded’ but he refused to commit to a pay rise
Told that the best birthday present for the NHS would be to hand its lowest paid staff a pay rise, Mr Hancock told Sky News: ‘Well, we absolutely want to reward NHS staff for what they have done.
‘On this 72nd anniversary we should remember that this has been the toughest year in the NHS’s 72 year history.
‘The lengths that NHS staff have gone to have been incredible. But also the flexibility that they have shown, the amazing increase for instance in the use of technology which has improved many of the services.
‘The ability of people to step up when it was really needed and take on decision making.
‘So there is many things that we want to bottle from the good things the NHS has done in response to this crisis.’
He later told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘We will absolutely ensure that we recognise the work that frontline staff in the NHS have done.’
He added: ‘Of course I want to see people properly rewarded, absolutely.’
His comments came ahead of a nationwide round of applause this evening to pay tribute to NHS workers.
People will be encouraged to clap at 5pm as a way of saying thank you to NHS staff who have worked throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Annemarie Plas, who founded the #ClapforCarers initiative which lasted for 10 weeks following lockdown, said she thinks the NHS anniversary clap on Sunday will be a ‘beautiful moment;.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, she said: ‘We have had this first part of the crisis, we don’t know what lies ahead, so if we can have this one moment where we say thank you to each other and recharge our batteries for what may be a heavier time that lies ahead, then I think that is a beautiful moment.’
Ms Plas said she felt ‘very honoured’ to be joining the Prime Minister for the ‘very special moment’ outside Number 10 at 5pm.
She added: ‘I came here as a new mum in a new country and they (the NHS) really went beyond to track me down, to show me around, and really helped me, and that was really touching because we don’t have anything like that in the Netherlands.
‘So I feel very happy to be in touch with the NHS this way.’
Meanwhile, Mr Hancock dismissed a report in the Observer which claimed talks over funding between the NHS and health chiefs had reached an impasse.
He said: ‘I just don’t recognise that story. We have been working very closely with thh Treasury on making sure we have the funding we need, whether it is for PPE or for the extra support that is needed in hospitals or for the Nightingale project or for the use of the independent sector.
‘We have an enormous amount of support from the Treasury. I am incredibly grateful to Rishi Sunak.
‘We have been working throughout this to put literally record sums into the NHS. The NHS have worked alongside us, they have been brilliant throughout it.
‘We have at pace needed very significant extra funding that they have put in. Just last week the Prime Minister announced another £1.5 billion for the NHS. That will be to expand our A&Es for this winter because with social distancing many A&Es across the country are going to need to be bigger.
‘It is also for maintenance which is much needed and to get on with capital projects. The Treasury, we have been working hand in glove with them throughout this.’