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NMC delays decision on fee rise

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has delayed its decision on the proposed fee increase by a month, but has refused a request from former health secretary Andrew Lansley to bring in an external auditor to look at the business case for the hike.

The regulator’s council was due to make a decision on whether to go ahead with the unpopular increase in the annual registration fee at its latest meeting yesterday.

However, acting chief executive Jackie Smith announced that the decision had been postponed to allow for a full analysis of the 26,476 responses submitted to its consultation on the proposal. A decision will now be made at October’s meeting.

It is the latest twist in the saga since the NMC first proposed increasing the fee from £76 to £120 in May.

Presenting the monthly finance report, NMC interim director of resources Paul Hackwell said the regulator’s financial health “depends on the size of [the fee rise] and when it comes”, and the “likelihood” was the increase would come through but would be delayed.

The NMC had originally budgeted for the fee increase to come in in January but is now budgeting for it to be introduced from the end of February.

However, outgoing interim chair Judith Ellis told the council there was still an option not to increase the fee.

She also revealed the NMC had refused Mr Lansley’s request in August for an external audit of the business case for the fee rise.

Like many of the health unions, Mr Lansley was concerned that assumptions on which the business case was based, such as that referrals would rise, were not sound. A report to the board showed referrals to the regulator had been falling since the beginning of 2012, although they were still significantly higher than 2010.

Professor Ellis said: “The business case was sound. We did not agree to do an audit going back.”

Asked whether the DH had agreed to provide any funding to the NMC on either a one off or a regular basis, Professor Ellis said the NMC was “constantly” talking to the DH and there would be more to say at October’s meeting.

Royal College of Midwives deputy general secretary Louise Silverton told Nursing Times it was a “disappointment” the NMC had decided not to go ahead with external audit.

“It would have given more assurance to registrants that they have looked at it in detail. We have seen today that referrals are going down and the increase is based on referrals going up.”

Stephen Iwasyk, a mental health nurse who started a petition against the fee increase, attended the meeting and told the council most nurses felt “distant” from the NMC.

He said: “We’re plodding along and someone says we’re taking this money off you, the good ones, to pay for the bad ones and we don’t feel as if we matter.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This is a decision for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as an independent body. We have publicly made it clear to all the health regulators that we would not expect to see rises in registration fees except where it is essential to fulfil their statutory duties.”

Readers' comments (30)

  • what reason have they given for not asking for an external audit?

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 9:33 am

    They don't want their true finances to be made public sounds about right.

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  • Can't say I'm surprised that the NMC want to vastly hike up the registration fees. I honestly have no idea what they actually spend their time doing beyond reviewing registrations due to complaints. I certainly have never felt that they are ever doing anything for the nurses and midwives registered with them. As for refusing an external audit, I guess it's because if someone else comes in, they will find that the price hike is not justified and probably could be reduced. The £76 we currently pay is just a complete rip-off and has never been justified, an increase to £120 is just daylight robbery and profiteering at it's best and will lead to me stopping my registration and finding another career. There is no way I would pay £120 a year to anyone that I have no respect, professionally or personally, for. Once the hike kicks in (which it will as the NMC don't give a damn about rank and file members), I wouldn't be surprised to see wage rises at NMC headquarters. Frankly, the NMC are the biggest joke of all regulators in all professions. Bring in the price hike and they will see a significant drop in the number of members registered with them (I hope) which will outweigh the hike and lead to an even worse nursing shortage in this country

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  • They should not be allowed to refuse external audit. They take money from the public which is what we all are. They should therefore be open to public scrutiny about how their Finances are conducted.

    NMC - something to hide???

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  • They should not be allowed to refuse external audit. They take money from the public which is what we all are. They should therefore be open to public scrutiny about how their Finances are conducted.

    NMC - something to hide???

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  • "...full analysis of the 26,476 responses submitted to its consultation on the proposal."




    Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 9:47 am

    You can always find their full financial reports on the NMC website!

    I am surprised they got away with refusing Lansley's proposal for an external audit. this now seems to be what is needed - McKinsey for example. But who is going to pay for it? It seems we tax payers have already paid enough for them to do the NHS one.


    "Paul Hackwell said the regulator’s financial health “depends on the size of [the fee rise] and when it comes”, and the “likelihood” was the increase would come through but would be delayed."


    it seems it depends on a lot more than just pouring more money into an empty pot with an apparent hole in the bottom!


    The NMC need to install all of their new staff, revise their business plan, trim away all the fat and improve their practices to prove themselves before they start asking for any fee increases.

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  • I just read the petition against it which says that there are 660,000 registrants. This means the NMC will be raking in over £79 Million every year!! (as opposed to £50Million now). Are they having a joke? Are they trying to tell us that an increase in referrals (which is clearly debated) is going to cost them almost £30 Million a year? Do any of the people who run the NMC live in the real world? Do they have any idea that there is a major economic crisis at the moment? Do they even care? Well, clearly they don't care otherwise they wouldn't have the sheer audacity to implement this. I am guessing that the postponement of the announcement is just the NMC pretending that they are listening to their members. Honestly, for the amount of work they do, paying £5 a year would be too much. I wouldn't mind if they actually helped nurses and pro-actively fought for our rights...but they don't. They sit on their pedestals, occassionally revoke someone's membership and then nothing. They are a sham

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 10:21 am

    "You can always find their full financial reports on the NMC website!"

    How do we know that these are accurate and true? All we have to go on is the NMC saying these are full and accurate! Frankly, I wouldn't believe the NMC if they told me the sky is blue. If their financials are accurate, then why would they object to having an external auditor? They shouldn't which makes me wonder what they are hiding/exaggerating

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  • they have lost the trust of nurses, there is no going back it is too late and the damage has been done.

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  • nursemorph | 14-Sep-2012 10:29 am

    company reports have to be produced annually and they are audited and signed by the auditors with a statement to say they reflect the truth. Without going into them at the moment as I don't have time, I don't recall the exact wording and I believe PriceWaterhouseCooper are their auditors. Does this mean they can't be trusted either? I suppose after all the banking fiascos no financial firm can be considered 100% trustworthy.

    I think if the NMC were actually in debt it would be news as they have been subject to a recent government enquiry.

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  • "Jackie Smith announced that the decision had been postponed to allow for a full analysis of the 26,476 responses submitted to its consultation on the proposal."

    a lengthy and costly exercise requiring a number of appropriately trained and qualified staff.

    A panel of nurses from the front line of a number of different hospitals without any vested interests should oversee this work to ensure that it carried our properly and fully.

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  • What has the MNC to hide if it refuses external auditors throught the obviously large palatial front doors of Portland Place?
    What do you have to hide if you dont want to be scrutinised? Part of it's role is to protect the public or is it to protect itself? If the truth was known it seems unfit for purpose..............

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 2:05 pm

    surely everything should have been brought to light by the recent investigations by the CHRE and the PM's Commission enquiry?

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  • Costs a lot of money for all that hospitality that the FTP panels lap up every day of the week. Remove that gravy train and then lets see how many of the great and good of the profession want to be involved.

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 12:14 pm

    "A panel of nurses from the front line of a number of different hospitals without any vested interests should oversee this work"


    Apparently there aren't any to spare.....

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 2:23 pm

    there are those sitting at home without a job wondering if they should emigrate!

    perhaps before they go...

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 10:57 am

    "company reports have to be produced annually and they are audited and signed by the auditors with a statement to say they reflect the truth. Without going into them at the moment as I don't have time, I don't recall the exact wording and I believe PriceWaterhouseCooper are their auditors. Does this mean they can't be trusted either? I suppose after all the banking fiascos no financial firm can be considered 100% trustworthy. "

    Thankyou for putting me straight on that. Honestly, I wasn't thinking about that as today was the first time I had realised about the planned hike in fees and I was slightly irate when I posted. Having said that, I still don't trust the NMC anyway. They have done absolutely nothing since their inception (ie changing from UKCC or whatever it was) to validate a single members' trust. Even when Nurses' rights are being trampled and we are being dragged over the coals by the media as a profession, the NMC just sits in their offices and does and says absolutely nothing.
    All I know right now is, quite simply, if the NMC go through with the implementation of this planned robbery of it's members (and yes it is robbery when we are getting nothing in return for paying), I for one, will be revoking my own registration and finding another career as I refuse to pay a fortune to a bunch of people who couldn't even organise or run a tea party!

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  • Obviously nurses count for nothing these days. I would like a nice cushy job doing absolutely nothing. They need to get in the real world and see just how this rise would affect all decent hard working people.

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  • This is another triumph for the communications arm of the NMC. No publicity about this except word of mouth or via Facebook initially.

    Nurses are being taxed through the back door, no pun intended, and nobody seems to give a damn.

    How many of the 700,000 nurses on the register are now contemplating leaving this proud profession because of this foregone conclusion ?

    Nurses are not considered worthy of the price of a stamp, says a lot for the regulators, in order to keep the NMC in increasingly fat expense accounts so worthy of those other crooks, the bankers......do they want our PIN numbers next ?

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  • please see below..the figures speak for themselves.the proposed fee increase will NOT just be for next year but will need to be increased again...and again...and again....no wonder they don't want an external financial audit!


    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=4301273285925&set=a.1251700408509.40060.1109487007&type=1&theater

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