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Andrew Lansley orders NMC to look again at proposed fee rise

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has ordered the Nursing and Midwifery Council to “explore all possible options to avoid” the proposed 58% fee increase and commission an independent audit of the proposals.

The NMC claims it needs to increase the annual registrants fee from £76 a year to £120 a year to raise the funds to get on top of its backlog of fitness to practise cases and cope with rising referrals.

However, in its highly critical review of the nursing regulator, the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence questioned the assumptions on which the need for the proposed increase was based and criticised the NMC for failing to accurately cost activity. The proposal has been met with near universal opposition from nurses and midwives.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: “At a time of pay restraint it is only right that the Nursing and Midwifery Council explore all possible options to avoid an increase.

“They should be able to justify to their registrants the need for a rise, which is why we have asked them to carry out an independent assessment of their proposals.”

The news was welcomed by the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and Unison.

In a joint statement they said: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State agrees with us that it is difficult to justify a fee increase for registrants, and has intervened in this way. As the unions representing nurses and midwives we welcome the request from the government for the NMC to commission an independent audit of its case for a fee rise.

“We hope to see the terms of reference for the audit as soon as possible, and that those terms will be wide-ranging enough to deliver the change which is needed if the NMC is to be financially sustainable.”

The union statement also called for the 24 August deadline on the NMC’s consultation on the fee rise to be extended to take account of the findings of the audit.

The NMC was due to make a decision on the fee rise at its meeting in September in order that the increase would be introduced from January 2013.

However, the health secretary’s intervention makes it unlikely the regulator will be able to stick to its original timetable anyway.

Nursing Times understands the new chair Mark Addison, who joins in September, is also keen to assure himself that the proposed fee rise is necessary.

The union statement continued: “The NMC is presenting our members with a fee rise of nearly 60%. This is not a situation which the nursing and midwifery professions can tolerate.

“The proposed audit needs to be carried out swiftly and its recommendations taken on board. This is essential for nurses and midwives to have confidence in the NMC as their regulator. It is also key to the organisation moving forward, demonstrating value for money and ensuring its statutory responsibility to protect patients.”  

Readers' comments (32)

  • Why don't they reloacte to a cheaper area and free up soke of ther real estate they own..

    Lisa Ward
    Lead Respiratory Nurse
    Southend University hospital

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  • michael stone

    Is AL trying to court popularity with nurses, now ?

    Strikes me as a bit late to attempt that.

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  • I agree with a change of location as stated by Lisa Ward - if the BBC can do it then why not the NMC?!

    The proposal of such a huge rise for the NMC fee is nothing short of disgusting and cannot be justified on any level. The organisation must look elswhere for their cost reduction. Perhaps within the department would be a good start. All organisations have had to produce savings from within, remove waste, headcount reduction, reviews of capital and estates, so please do the same. The poor managment of the NMC needs to be addressed and the burden of it's incompetence not be passed on to the nurses and midwives who have already taken a pay cut/freeze.

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  • NMC claims rent on current property is minimal,left to them by Miss Nightingale ect.I remember they had an American in charge at one time, on a huge wage,dont recall many great changes.Looking at the list of despots awaiting a striking off order,what a performance getting rid of them,those that are guilty, should pay a huge fine and monies relocated back to the'hearings committee'Why should honest hard working nurses have to pay for the vile dishonest ones?

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  • anne murphy spence, that is a despicable stance to take. Not everyone awaiting trial by the witch hunters at the NMC is vile, dishonest or even guilty!!!

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  • tinkerbell

    DH Agent - as if ! | 6-Aug-2012 2:06 pm

    Only so he will have some left to employ in the private sector when it all kicks off big time.

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  • further to 5.33pm

    in answer to anne murphy spence

    ... and it can happen to anybody at any time, even you, and I am sure you would not call yourself vile and dishonest ? !

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  • Well, if the NMC do put the fees up, the first thing I'll do is cancel my RCN membership to offset that increase and I'd encourage everyone to do the same: hit the RCN and Unison in the pocket.

    Carters lot need to get a grip and fight this all the way.

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  • i believe the NHS has been told to make savings! this has seen buildings being rationalised, team members being rationalised activities monitored to get value for money- wages frozen

    so why cant the NMC do this before demanding money from members- any other business would not raise their fees by 60%- they would lose the custom and collapse- but hey we nurses are stuffed we can refuse- or we cant work- they got us hook line and sinker.

    its not RCN and Unison that make this decision they are trying everything to get a solution-- its the NMC we need to hit and yes is nurses were managed locally, many would not be going to the NMC- so those that do nd there should be fined or charged towards the costs just as they would in a court-

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  • The NMC(and its predecessors) has experienced many problems. Dwelling on the problems serves no purpose but seeking a solution is a priority.

    Take a look here

    In New Zealand all FtP cases involving Health Care Practitioners (including Doctors) are managed by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

    Complaints which allege a Nurse is unfit to practise but where the complaint does NOT involve patients) may be dealt with by the Nursing Council of New Zealand,25,html/Home

    The system seems to function well, with minimum delays when compared to the UK and ensures a level of consistency in decision making not always seen in the UK

    New Zealand registered Health Care Practitioners found unfit to practise are liable for hearing costs and they may also be subject to a financial penalty (fine). Details of cases involving Nurses can be read here.

    An actual decision can be read here NOTE the tribunal costs of NZ$10,000 made against the defendant!

    Maybe we should pursue a similar system ?

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  • I suspect that a number of things will happen over the next few month:
    1. The level of fee rise will not take place and therefore they will not have sufficient money to address the backlog of FtP.
    2. The NMC will feel very unhappy regarding the new Chair and he will eventually go to AL telling him that the NMC are not working with him and are uncooperative.
    3. Stories of poor care will continue to be prominent in the papers which will put the NMC under severe pressure
    4. They will eventually be declared 'not fit for purpose' and a body that is not headed by nurses and is 'independent' will be instigated by the government.

    In short the NMC have been set up to fail. Some clever person put DWH in there knowing that he would drive them in this direction.

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  • Anonymous | 7-Aug-2012 9:51 am

    The NMC I believe will continue to exist. The organisations role and function may change.

    In this country we have four organizations dealing with FtP issues. The NMC, GMC, GDC and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

    If you refer to my earlier post you will note I am attracted by the New Zealand model in which the majority of FtP cases are dealt with by a single organisation. This frees individual Regulators to concentrate on Educational Matters and Maintaining a Register of those permitted to practise (or not!)

    Granted such a system could not be introduced in the UK overnight but I would argue The NZ system has merit and should at least be considered.

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  • Jenny Jones

    have you taken the NZ model up with the NMC or any change agents. there is little use in discussing such matters here amongst yourselves and everybody constantly whingeing about all the difficulties encountered. I doubt that way nurses will have any power to influence any sort of positive change.

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  • Anonymous,
    take some time to read what some of theses vile dishonest nurses doo,bet you or your family wouldnt liked to me nuresed by them. why you anoymous?????

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  • Maybe there is a bit of spin going on here. It is not the first time I have heard of a proposed big increase in price in the private or public sector. Then we all breathe a sigh of relief when it is less than has been previously announced. Perhaps the NMC are playing this game??
    Andrew Lansley not my favourite chap and this latest stance on NMC fees doesn't change my view.

    This is not the first time the NMC has been in disarray, I am sure there is a report from a few years ago but I couldn't find it tonight. But perhaps more relevant here is a link to the July 2012 report, Strategic Review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (for people who might not have had a chance to read it)

    If the link doesn't work you can find the report on the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence

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  • tinkerbell

    raggedtrouseredphilanthropist | 7-Aug-2012 8:24 pm

    Well he hasn't got a very good track record so far has he? Old big L, don't even mention his name anymore. He's programmed to destroy us.

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  • Beware of G(r)eeks bearing gifts!

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  • Yet another ruse to sabotage the NHS, I suspect!!!

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  • We at the NMC, have listened to the concerns of you Nurses about the proposed fee increase.

    We understand your concerns about the current economic climate, and have now decided that the new registration fee will be £119.95, instead of £120. Hope you are all satisfied now.

    You can`t say we don`t listen!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Someone pass the Caviar please.

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  • tinkerbell

    Tipperary Tim | 8-Aug-2012 11:01 am

    Ha Ha, but a bit generous, don't you mean £119.99. Keep the penny for yourself.

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