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Nearly all nurses reject NMC fee increase

Nurses have responded to a consultation on the proposal to increase their registration fee to £120 with almost total opposition.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s meeting today heard that approximately 20,000 nurses had responded to its consultation survey on increasing the fee from the current rate of £76 so far. A total of 98% of those rejected the rise.

The survey will continue until August 24, with the NMC expected to make a final recommendation of the fees change in September.

Meanwhile, an e-petition on a government website opposing the change has attracted more than 48,700 signatures. If it reaches 100,000, the issue could be debated in the Commons.

Unison’s head of nursing Gail Adams said the result was mirrored in the union’s own survey which had found a 94% rejection of the fee.

She said: “The strength of feeling was always going to be there.” She also predicted that the NMC would press ahead with the change anyway, which “made a mockery of [the] consultation”.

The embattled regulator, which was heavily criticised for failing “at every level” in a review of its capability earlier this month, has claimed the 60% hike is needed to pay for its core function of protecting the public through Fitness to Practise investigations.

The cost of the FtP process is expected to rise to £73m following a 52% increase in the number of referrals over the past two years.

The council meeting heard that in June, its increase in FtP action had meant that, for the first time, more cases were closed than were referred in June.

The meeting heard there had been a reduction of 59 cases in the NMC’s caseload, although it still has more than 4,000 on its books with an average length of investigation estimated at 12.8 months.

Acting chief executive Jackie Smith said: “We have to win back the confidence of the public and professionals and we need to deal with our internal culture.”

She said the council’s “resigned resilience culture” needed to be challenged, but that it would take time.

Readers' comments (22)

  • I cannot understand why this was put to consultation at all. if the fee has to increase, I would expect to see a justification for this circulated to us with a breakdown of how the monies are currently spent, the shortfall and what they would use the extra money for.
    They do not need to make the case that they cannot cope at present, everyoner else has identified that for them.
    We need to hear what they intend to do about it. The fiasco of the recruitment process has not helped.
    If the nurses say they do not want an increase, what then? Do they continue to pile up the debt?
    Asking people to spend more money is rarely likely to get wholehearted support but taken over the cost per week compared to basic nurse pay, it was not a huge increase. Other professional grouops have to pay more I suspect. I am concerned that unless the NMC can get it's act together that it will be "taken over" and run for us. We would not be regulating ourselves any more and could no longer claim to be a professional group. This used to be inmportant to nurses even if our pay does not reflect that staus or value to others.

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  • I have had contact with the NMC regarding correspondence they sent out to me regarding a referral for fitness to practice that was nothing to do with me but involved another member. I received a rather lack lustre response from them initially. After several frustrated messages which were not responded to I asked for an explanation of what had happened, what would be done to prevent similar happening again and also an apology for the distress caused by the mistake. I am still waiting. I have also been contacted in a rather haphazard manner about needing to attend a hearing. The communication process with the NMC can best be described (from my experience) as patchy and poor.

    If the rise in fees is to make sure that this is improved upon then fair play but as we have to pay this money then as outlined by anonymous previously this needs to be properly justified.

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  • Anonymous | 20-Jul-2012 11:55 am

    'I am still waiting.'

    Don't hold your breath !

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  • why not spend the money investigating and addressing the reasons for so many FtPs in the first place before they even have the chance to go as far as an NMC trial. maybe better recruitment and training would be a more cost-effective, safer and satisfactory answer for all concerned.

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  • I am disappointed that nurses are being encouraged to oppose the fee increase. The CHRE report makes clear that it is the NMC's failure to increase the ARF that to some extent has led to all its current difficulties within FtP etc. The profession needs to recognise why they pay an ARF - to ensure high standards are achieved and maintained across the profession. A failure of the NMC can only demonstrate a failure of the profession as a whole.

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  • Google gmc fees, see how much medics pay; which is more than we do, however the gmc explains exactly where the money goes. The HCPC charge £78 per year, which is reduced by 50% for the first two years after qualifying.

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  • The NMC has just thrown away 62 k on a failed recruitment process to find a new head. Perhaps if the organisation wasn't in such a mess, nurses would be more willing to fund it. I'm not so sure self-regulation is what we have now or if it is a good idea. Look at the press, lawyers and other professionals who self-regulate.

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  • Why bother with the consultation if they were going to change it anyway, why bother to ask our opinion?no really why? What do they do that's worth it anyway. All we get is a flimsy bit of card with outr pin number on it. Is that what I worked so hard for at university!

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  • I don't see why our so called prime misinter David Cameron can't abolish this stupid fee as he did for teachers by abolishing the GTC.

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  • Anonymous 10:14 a.m.

    In answer to your question maybe he knows that the teachers will and have gone on strike for what they want where as nurses............

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  • Nursing is a difficult vocation as it is and poorly paid! This is just another governmental bleed on the working class.It's a pity the b******* aren't on the receiving end!!!

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  • Gary Musgrove

    I have been a nurse for 15 years now and have always said the cost of this registration should be met by national insurance contributions.......... afterall it is to protect the public so they should be paying for it not the nurse so why should we have to pay to be a professional...... is our passion and skills not enough ??

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  • The NMC investigation process has to be far more rigorous when referrals are made. It would curtail the amount of referrals which are progressed to ftp hearings and would also identify malicious referrals made by unscrupulous employers.. for the record, these are not only in the private sector - they are alive and unfortunately kicking in the NHS also.

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  • annon re your post on google GMC fees....have you seen how much they earn?
    and HCPC take 3 moths to investiagte ftpc....NMC take 5 or 6 years...hello wake up and smell the coffee

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  • Tried to copy and paste this article to NMC fb site...surprise surprise it gets removed after a few minutes...I wonder why???.

    i urge everyone to join the Nurses against potential increase in NMC fees page on facebook

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  • http://?epetitions.direct.gov.uk/?petitions/34101 the online e petition, its upto 50,000 already...we need to reach 100,000 signatures for Govt debate....follow the link.

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  • Yet another example of the lack of respect that nurses are held in by their employers, regulators and the government. Everyone seems to think we are a soft touch and they can rail road through difficult and unpopular plans with no repercussions.
    My patients appreciate my efforts but no-one else seems to. The reason for the resistance is simple a pay freeze resulting in a real pay cut followed by a 60& hike in fees, I wonder why we do not want to pay extra. The lunatics are running the asylum

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  • I dont understand why they need so much money. Maybe if they spent it on what they were supposed to be doing instead of what they branched out and interfered with and took a drop in salary like everyone else is expected to do, they would be able to manage. After all, they have the money, they must have. They boast in their leaflets that they have the biggest register of nurses in the world. So what are they doing with it?

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  • I am in support of having a regulatory body and I am not against a fee increase, but and this is the important part, any fee increase must be accompanied by significant changes in process within the NMC and significantly greater transparency on how the money is spent. I also strongly agree with the comments that it is the reluctance to increase fees in the past that has led to this situation. This is management ineptitude, so changes at the top are also required (and of course we all know the mess that process is currently in). As for the consultation process, that too is as much of a farce as many of the other processes and communications.

    If the NMC wants to win back confidence of both it's membership and the public, it has a lot of work to do and ignoring the voice of it's membership is not going to be the way to achieve this. If an increase in fees is genuinely needed (as a result of the previous failures), then the NMC will have to start by a much more modest increase, accompanied by transparency on how it will meet the remaining deficit by making it's own efficiency savings, much like the rest of the country. Once it has shown it has listened and modified the increase and this has been accompanied by evidence of improved performance by the NMC, it may be possible that the membership would be more willing to stomach further increases in the future but only if these are shown to be needed and are in line with inflation and perhaps more importantly, nurses pay increases.

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  • Anonymous | 22-Jul-2012 10:19 am, my point wasn't the amount paid but rather the openness the GMC have about where the money is spent which is available on a public web page.
    The comparison of cost was with the HCPC rather than the GMC. However, I think you'll find that an FY2 earns about the same as a Band 6. An SpR earns Band 7 to Band 8 salary. (Figurse obtained from a search on NHS jobs)

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