Nursing and Midwifery Council leaders are widely expected to agree to go ahead with a consultation on a possible registration fee increase this week.
The NMC council’s latest meeting, being held today in London, is scheduled to decide whether or not to consult on increasing the annual fee for registrants to £120.
Warnings that the regulator might be seeking another fee rise were sparked at its last council meeting in January. A finance report said it was expecting to end the 2013-14 with a deficit of £7.3m, which it stated “was unsustainable in future years without a fee rise”.
The consultation is an almost inevitable consequence of the NMC’s ongoing struggles to balance its books. In 2012 it attempted to increase the registration fee from £76 to £120. But, following a £20m government grant, the regulator opted to increase it to £100 in February 2013 for two years.
A petition calling on the government to review the process through which the Nursing and Midwifery Council decides its annual registration fee has now been signed by over 95,000 people.
The petition was started in January by mental health nurse Stephen Iwasyk. The concerns raised by the petition could be debated by MPs if it is signed by 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, last week leading NMC council member Professor Judith Ellis announced her intention to step down on 30 June. She is credited with helping lead the NMC through its latest leadership crisis in 2012, when she acted as interim council chair for six months following the loss in short succession of both its permanent chair and chief executive.
The NMC has also announced the appointment of Jon Billings at its new director of strategy. He joins from the General Medical Council.