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NMC fee rise confirmed as 'only deal on the table'

The Department of Health looks increasingly unlikely to intervene on behalf of registrants over the unpopular proposals to increase the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s fee by 58%.

NMC interim chief executive Jackie Smith revealed on Monday that “no one” at the DH had “sought to challenge” the unpopular idea, announced in May.

Unions, including the Royal College of Nursing and Unison, had called on the government to step in and bail out the financially challenged regulator, which wants to increase the registration fee from £76 to £120 from January in order to continue funding its core fitness to practise functions.

The NMC is currently holding a consultation on the proposals, which have also been shown to ministers.  

Ms Smith was speaking at a press conference yesterday, which was held to discuss a highly critical report into the NMC by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence.  

She confirmed that NMC had not requested any financial support from the government and that a fee increase for registrants was the “only deal on the table”, following a comment from RCN head of policy Howard Catton, questioning whether the NMC had reached the right figure for the fee to cover the increasing Fitness to Practise costs.

She said: “We absolutely know that £120 is very significant in a really difficult time but there is no point in us saying actually, ‘we can manage with a hundred quid’, knowing that in a year’s time we’d have to come back and say actually it’s £120.

“We have to have the courage and responsibility to say this is what we need. We know how unpopular it is, but we have put out the business case to the department and no one has sought to challenge it,” she said.

In response, Unison head of nursing Gail Adams told Ms Smith: “There’s no other way than to be blunt in how I think registrants will see it. You are asking the registrants to bail out the NMC in the same way that the public was asked to bail out the banks.”

In an official statement put out later by the union, Ms Adams continued: “Public protection is everyone’s business and we fail to see why nurses and midwives should have to bail the NMC out of a financial crisis of its own creation.

“We call on the government to meet with the trade unions urgently to intervene. It is time for them to step in and stop hard working nurses and midwives taking yet another undeserved hit on their already dwindling incomes.”

In the RCN’s official response to the CHRE’s report into the NMC, chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter, said: “There is great concern among nurses that they are currently being faced with a near 60% hike in NMC fees at a time when many nurses are struggling financially.

“This is a huge increase and could not have come at a worse time, with nurses in the midst of a two year pay freeze and facing worrying increases to their pension contributions. It seems very unfair to expect registered nurses to solely pick up the costs of the regulator’s financial failings.”

Readers' comments (47)

  • Move to cheaper buildings. With what I heard on the news this morning we as nurses are stuffed.

    Goverment should pay money then if your protecting the public and not us.

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  • no point in Ms Smith from the NMC saying they can manage with £100 ....etc

    yet nurses are expected to manage after having to pay the new fee increase!

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  • This makes me feel like just throwing in the towel. A pay freeze and pension contribution increase and now this.... We should all just refuse to pay the NMC. What they going to do if every nurse in the country didn't pay to register to practice? About time we stood up for ourselves.

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  • Why even bother conducting a so-called consultation, that in itself must be another waste of a load of money especially if their minds have already been made.
    Is it just to make them feel better of asking us fee payers and make it look like we had a choice?
    If it wasn't statutory for us to register, we could use it much better at home.

    As to banks owing us our money, just off-set my mortgage, overdraft, loans and credit card debts first, then we'll see what's left and who owes who what later ;)

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  • Look at their rent; look at their overheads. Why on earth are we allowing this to continue? They are situated in one of the most expensive locations for property in the UK. I'm betting their offices are luxuriously appointed...

    We should 'get real' NMC. Few businesses can afford the sort of lifestyle you have - and yet you feel justified in asking for more money from hard-pressed registrants. Why don't you just get cheaper premises?

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  • What a joke don't know why we bother!! No pay rise............ rise in pension contributions.....

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  • John Howes

    Listening to Radio 4 Today. It is clear that the NMC has been mismanaged for some time! I believe we knew that already. Their proposal for a non negotiable increase in subscriptions appears to be a breach of their monopoly position. It beggars belief that a self confessed failed system can now soak up the balance from it's subscribers. Perhaps non-registration should be a considered response. After all, if you don't register to practice, your employer must terminate your employment. I guess the Government won't get involved , the political fallout on this one has the potential for squeaky bums all round, who will blink first?

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  • Toby Ornottoby

    Goodbye NMC

    Your time is up... you have finally flown into The Daily Maul's radar (courtesy of the NT)

    "When the NMC revealed the problem in May, it told the journal Nursing Times it had found 400 mistakes, of which 100 were of major concern and were being urgently rectified."

    Hehehehe... Good luck trying to wriggle your way out of this one!

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  • Anon 10.39

    how about all storming their premises for a tour of inspection and then writing a report on the findings!

    Has anybody seen the published results of the consultation with nurses on this fee increase? If so, please would they be kind enough to post the reference here so that everybody can read it before paying their next fees? I don't think anybody can be expected to pay until these have been seen to prove the justification for this rise.

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  • This is unbelievable in light of the report on the NMC exposing long term incompetence and management failures. The interim CEO is precisely the person who had previously mismanaging the fitness to practice system which we know is out of control. I agree that here we (nurses), are with pay freezes that amount to a cut in pay, job insecurity, pressure to cut corners and a rising cost of living (transport to work,we are expected to shell out more money to plug the hole in finances and running costs made by seemingly useless individuals claiming huge salaries.

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  • wtf do you expect from people so out of touch with reality, Ireland and the rest of the World doand t have this problem with so many people being reported because they KNOW how petty people are and reliese tht 50%of the cases are out of spite

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  • I think it stinks. What are the NMC spending our money on? They sent me a leaflet recently stating that they have the biggest Register on the planet, and so it follows that they have the biggest takings so where is it going? I agree, we have had to pay out the bankers and now the NMC, our pensions have been eroded and jobs are at risk. I dont know what the answer is but it isnt putting money in their pockets and paying for exclusive London accommodation. Everyone else has had to reduce spending, so should they.

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  • when are the fees actually going up?

    if some people pay £120 and then the organisation goes out of business or is taken over will there be a refund?

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  • This makes me feel like just throwing in the towel. A pay freeze and pension contribution increase and now this.... We should all just refuse to pay the NMC. What they going to do if every nurse in the country didn't pay to register to practice? About time we stood up for ourselves.

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  • Hello Anon 11.10, the link is here

    and the consultation ends 24 August, so plenty of time to give your feedback!

    STRONGLY advise everyone to do the online survey, it's not difficult (lots of blurb to click thru though) and ANONYMOUS.

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  • Anon 12.40
    many thanks. I don't get it as the title said the increase is confirmed but how can it be before the consultation closes.

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  • Is anybody else having trouble copying and pasting on this site since yesterday?

    I think it is just a problem here on the NT pages and not with my computer and it doesn't happen on other sites.

    I have e-mailed NT about it and await their reply.

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  • I just received an RCN e-mail and survey about the hike in fees. I wasted time filling it in and as there was one compulsory question I was unable to answer I was unable to submit it! What a wasted exercise.
    I am just about to see whether there is a contact on the e-mail to inform them of this otherwise they can count me out as I am not prepared to spend any more of my time supporting them if this is the best they can do.

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  • The only deal on the table? why..........

    why haven't they asked for financial assistance from the government.

    they are 'there to protect the public' - they obviously don't do a very good job at it.

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  • For starters: Move out of the nice fancy building you you need to cut down on your staff ???
    No need to book fancy hotels for hearings, oh yes and stop investigations and hearings for silly nonsense errors...just because some over worked and tired nurse forgot to sign a prescription sheet it does not imply that the medication was not administered. The NMC strike fear in to nurses, and it all boils down to extra paperwork to prove that we have provided quality patient care..forms for this, forms for that!!! OMG! OMG! I forgot to complete a car plan for that patient who caught a cold..OMG!! will they know what to do ???...I must get out of bed....I can get a taxi to work to do that care plan...Im scared Im scared !!!!!...SHUT THE WHO OPERATION DOWN, THE GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE OVER AND PROTECT THE PUBLIC!!!!!

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