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NMC fee rise could face legal challenge

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s decision to increase the registration fee by almost a third has been condemned by unions, amid concerns the move will have a disproportionate effect on part time staff.

Unison said it would be seeking legal advice on the potential to challenge the decision under equalities legislation, while the Royal College of Midwives also raised concerns about the impact on the 70% of its members who work part time.

At its latest meeting last week, the NMC council voted unanimously to increase the annual fee from £76 to £100 from next February, and potentially to £120 in 2015. However, council members also committed to annually reviewing the fee in future so the £120 figure could potentially be reduced.

The £24 hike is significantly less than the £44 increase originally proposed by the regulator back in May. The offer of a government grant of £20m this month allowed the regulator to reduce the level of the increase in fee.

The NMC has said it needed to raise the fee to deal with the increased cost of its fitness to practise work, with referrals predicted to increase from £28.5m to £42.9m in 2012-13.

Speaking at last week’s meeting, NMC chair Mark Addison said the “key reason” council members had not opted to increase the fee to £120 straight away was a recognition of the “pressures and difficulties” facing registrants. He said: “It’s a decision we take reluctantly but… we feel we have no choice.”

The meeting was told more than 26,000 people responded to the NMC’s consultation on the proposed fee increase. Of these 5% of registrants said they would leave the profession if the fee increased to £120.

Speaking to Nursing Times after the meeting, Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said the union would be looking into challenging the decision on the grounds that it had a disproportionate impact on the 40% of nurses who work part time.

The NMC carried out an equality impact assessment but concluded the fee increase would not “worsen the financial position” of part time workers.

Ms Adams said: “I understand they feel they’re between a rock and a hard place, but I feel there are other options they could have considered.”

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the RCM, told Nursing Times there was concern among its members who worked part-time, often due to caring responsibilities

She said it was “sad” the NMC had decided to go ahead with an increase but welcomed the plans for an annual review of the fee. “The NMC’s suggestion that fees could go down, if predictions aren’t as they expect, is welcome,” she added.

The council also agreed to consider allowing registrants to pay the fee via a monthly direct debit rather than as a lump sum.

The Royal College of Nursing condemned the increase. Chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said the college was “staggered” nurses were being asked to pay for a problem not of their making without any reassurance that the NMC’s “fundamental problems” have been solved.

Readers' comments (17)

  • there is absolutely no reason why registrants should have to pay the NMC to get through their backlog of FtP hearings or to pay for those in the future. They are not our responsibility, why should we pay for anyone elses incompetence, it is a disgrace.

    Places like Winterborne should pay a hefty fine for what went on there, a proportion of that needs to go to the NMC to pay all the costs incurred for the FtP proceedings, not me or any other nurse that is not involved. Why should I pay to have those staff struck off?

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  • Anonymous | 30-Oct-2012 9:22 am there is absolutely NO reason that nurses should pay for this shambles at all! They are there to protect the public FROM us, so let the public damn well pay the fees!

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  • Ok the NMC want money now for sorting out fitness to practise cases. Might they now get more because hard pressed nurses will have to workmore hours to pay for this rise!!!
    In any case what have they done with the money we have already given them ???
    I suppose that we as nurses will end up paying more union subs so THEY could help us if needs be?

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  • I would like to know how the NMC came to the decision that the rise in registration would not worsen part timers financial position. They didnt ask ME. I work part time and sometimes have to work overtime to help with increasing costs of living, so this rise in registration fee will worsen my financial position.

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  • 'council members also committed to annually reviewing the fee in future so the £120 figure could potentially be reduced.'
    I can't see once fees rise, that it will ever be reduced, eg either back to £76 or even to £52 / yr.

    'The meeting was told more than 26,000 people responded to the NMC’s consultation on the proposed fee increase. Of these 5% of registrants said they would leave the profession if the fee increased to £120.'
    That's a pathetic response, as I'm one of the 26K, I stated my views and didn't want any rise.

    If they can't afford to run a service, then do what everyone else have to do - cut their loses, prioritise outstanding cases, throw back lower priorities for trusts/employers to investigate, charge more for inappropriate referrals, and if there's still not enough money downsize the NMC, cut senior + exec pay, freeze everyone else's pay and sell up some of the properties in their London portfolio.
    As they're there to protect the public, then it should be paid for by the public purse (or local health authority of where the affected patient/s are cared for).
    If all else fails scrap the organisation as its inefficient + not fit for practice. Let someone else take over eg CQC or Monitor. Nurses + Midwives shouldn't be paying for other people's mistakes. Non-registered staff don't have to pay reg fees. For those that do have poor practice + poor standards of care, they can lose their jobs, get struck off, put onto a risk register + be put in prison.

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  • So, Peter Carter is "staggered"! What is he doing about it? As has been said before, it looks like nurses need to take their own action on this, and not rely on those we pay to represent us. How about if we all pay just £76 and not a penny more, - what are they going to do about it? I just hope there is a legal challenge a.s.a.p. before any one of is robbed by the NMC.

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  • Susan Markham

    I love the NMC and all that wonderful organisation stands for. I would not only have paid £120 but double that amount to maintain my registration in such a noble vocation.

    The NMC is the only thing that stands between “us” and pure anarchy.... They deserve every penny that we pay them because they do such a jolly good job. It’s cheap at half the price if you ask me!

    Ouch! Ooooh owwww.... My teeth hurt...

    Many apologies folks... I am just back from the dentist and I am a very bad patient. Not only did my dentist give me NovoCaine and Nitrous Oxide but he also had to give me a hefty slab of Valium.... which is only now, slowly, beginning to wear off....

    I seem to be slightly more “sober” now the effects of the gas and the diazepam have gone...

    So where was I?

    Eeeeeek?

    £120? I’d rather go back to the dentist and have all of my teeth pulled without the aid of any anaesthetic.

    Where do these Wallies get off? WE pay THEM to protect the public against US?

    Don’t we already pay a government body to do that - called the POLICE?

    Okay... so the police ignored Jimmy Savile.... But then again we have great bastions of democracy like the BBC... who also ignored Jimmy Savile... but the BBC did a great expose about abuse in hospitals... which, of course, got a nurse struck off by the NMC for exposing what the NMC should have been doing in the first place...

    I’m sorry, my head is still spinning. Can someone remind me what exactly the NMC does NOW that the UKCC did BEFORE at half the price?

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  • Lol @ Susan M, agree with Andy wholeheartedly and yes to Anon. What if every registrant did just pay £76 and not a penny more? It would be interesting to see the NMC suspend all the staff on the register and then explain themselves to the Employers who had no staff to deliver services as their registration was 'suspended' Its about time we all stood together and became more organised and militant. I don't know whether it would get us anywhere in the long run (it didnt do the miners any good :-0 ) BUT at least if we went down we would go down fighting and not like the door mats the Nursing profession is rapidly becoming.

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  • They've got the biggest register of nurses on the planet, with no doubt, the highest fees. what have they spent it on? A moat, maybe? No, maybe that should say 'float', because by the time this has finished they will need one to go away. Let's go back to the GNC...it was simpler then. Move the NMC up north where its cheaper and the staff there dont have the temptations of London shopping.

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  • Whinging will not secure improvement in the process of Regulation

    I would suggest you take a look at the Regulation process in New Zealand (NZ)

    In NZ all cases which involve patients are dealt with by the Health and Disability Commissioner and Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) which is responsible for all registered health care practitioners including doctors.

    HPDT decisions involving nurses can be read here.

    http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=71#PM


    You will note that in many cases miscreants found guilty are in addition to a fine , required to contribute to the whole or a substantial part of the costs associated with their hearing.

    Way to go ?



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  • What do the NMC actually do? they obviously don't protect the public, if they did then there would be no bad nurses on the register in the first place so no need to strike anyone off.

    They don't do anything for nurses.

    What exactly am I paying them for? A card that 'is not proof of registration' and a PREP folder that 'is not fit for purpose".

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  • Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the RCM, it was “sad” the NMC had decided to go ahead with an increase but welcomed the plans for an annual review of the fee. “The NMC’s suggestion that fees could go down, if predictions aren’t as they expect, is welcome,”

    Do bus fares, air fares, taxi fares reduce in line with falling fuel costs? Do prices come down as inflation falls ? No of course they don't nor will the registration fee.

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  • Florence

    Whatever happened to '' Cutting your cloth accordingly'' ?
    In the short term the government has helped Nurses because we won't have to pay the £120 initially proposed. Iam glad of that as my Hubby has taken a paycut and Im a full time Band 5 on shifts. Im at the top of my pay scale but Im hardly rolling in it.
    In the Long term the NMC will have to do things differently. Yes fees do have to rise, slowly in a sensible planned fashion. but this is indicative of a deeper problem.
    Enough said.

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  • florence - why do fees have to rise?

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  • The NMC register is only there to protect the public. It has one line on the register for me with my name and details. Why should this cost money to maintain? What else are they doing apart from hearings - i'm not in trouble so why should every other nurse be penalised!

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  • Anonymous | 1-Nov-2012 9:01 am

    engage your brain!

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  • Sign the petition.

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34101

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