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READERS’ BLOG

'I've got the hump with the NMC'

  • 11 Comments

I’ve got the hump with the double whammy of the proposed NMC fees hike to £120 and Jeremy Hunt blocking the Pay Reviews Body’s proposed 1% for NHS workers.

At the same time, MPs will be receiving 11%, meaning an increase from around £66,000 to £74,000.

The NMC states its statutory objective is: “To safeguard the health and wellbeing of people who use or need the services of nurses and midwives”, and on the strategic vision web page: “Public protection will be at the centre of all of our activities”.

So, there we have it, nothing to do with helping the nursing and midwifery workforce. Rather, it’s protecting the public from the worst of care but nothing about driving up care standards.

So, where does the NMC spend OUR money?

“0% pay rise to the frontline should mean 0% for the regulator”

From the accounts for 2012-2013:

  • Standards promotion and policy development – £2.025m
  • Education – £1.395m
  • Maintaining the register – £5.56m
  • Fitness to practice – £47.49m

Yep, that’s right, more than five times the cost of everything else the NMC does is spent on Fitness to Practice cases! Does that not seem absurd to anyone else?

The smallest amount of all is spent on education. Perhaps, if a bit more was spent in ths area, or even just on offering help and advice to the registrants, then the public would have better nurses and the FtP costs would plummet. If the fees increase goes ahead, the total will be something like £80.4m, which seems like quite a lot of dosh for an organisation that doesn’t even have a telephone advice line!

“Just who are they consulting with to agree on the rise?”

A newly qualified staff nurse earns £21,478 for their first year but, even before they start work, 0.5% of that is taken away by the NMC for privilege of appearing on the register.

Paid up front also seems rather arcane; should we not have the ability to at least pay monthly and spread the burden? If I need to take a break for a few months or more, could I have the facility to stop paying the NMC fee, much as I do when I SORN my motorbike during the winter? After all, if I’m not working as a nurse for a period then the public do not need to be protected from me.

The NMC has announced a consultation on the fees increase, with a decision announced at the council meeting on 1st October. But, who will agree to this or is it consultation in name only?

The Royal College of Nursing are already stating, “Nursing workforce morale is at an all-time low” and together with UNISON have opposed the fee rise. Every nurse I’ve spoken to in a straw-poll has objected to the rise. So just who are they consulting with to agree on the rise?

What about linking fees to the pay rise given to nurses and midwives? 0% pay rise to the frontline should mean 0% for the regulator and they will just have to make “efficiency savings” in the same way as the frontline.

But 20%… that’s a pay rise even MPs would be proud of!

 

Jayne Parker is a Staff Nurse working for the NHS and living in the South East with her partner, a cat and a large motorcycle. Find her on Twitter - @jayne_parker

  • 11 Comments

Readers' comments (11)

  • I would like Jeremy Hunt to be a resident on my dementia nursing floor, I could run past him and say "sorry no time, not enough nurses, must do my paperwork, change your own pad" .
    Of course I am being flippant !!!!
    but God help him if he ever uses the NHS, oh but Im sure he goes private.

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  • Totally agree, I'm fed up with all pay reviews which do not reflect the resposibilities that nurses have. Look at the banding structure- so admin/ support staff, hotel services on a band 5 get the same pay as a band 5 Nurse in an intensive care unit. NMC - took them weeks to add my Non medical prescribing to the register. If I did not pay my registration on time, could you imagine the result, but they notice that right away.

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  • There's a massive shortage of teachers, especially in London (even if standards have risen recently). They're saying they're not paid enough too (compared with city workers) but that's still better than nurses grade for grade.

    Also as economy gets better, there will be less recruits for teaching due to lack of support, bureaucracy and the stresses involved.
    Sound like nursing too except nursing work is 24/7/365 and try getting Xmas + New Year off, or few weeks off during summer (bit hard, when other staff wants same time off).

    So called regulators should work a week (every month) where most nurses/midwives to gain first hand experiences of balancing patients care.

    Ps I think there's no regulatory body for teachers in England, meaning no deductions from teachers or from employers, and don't see suffering as a result. Time to scrap registered fees. A database of registrants costs a fraction to run. Initially employers can deal with poor care, if needed law courts can deal with criminal cases.
    NMC can make decisions about registrants from reviewing evidence given to courts. Don't need massive expenses claims either.

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  • The NMC and its predecessor, the UKCC, have been pulling this sort of stunt for years.

    I originally paid what was supposed to be a "lifetime" one off registration fee, which pretty rapidly became an annual fee, introduced despite the opposition of pretty much the entire nursing workforce.

    OK, this annual fee is partly re-claimable against income tax...If you can find out how to claim...And remember to do so...But still isn't the whole fee...Which still keeps going up...

    As a regulator, the NMC is not there to help nurses, but to police us...And sting us for the privilege.

    Oh, teachers were regulated by the General Teaching Council - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Teaching_Council_for_England - and are regulated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_for_Education#Executive_agencies

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  • What annoys me is that the NMC is failing in areas such as governance, leadership, decision-making, operational management and financial stewardship. If that was a nurse, she would've been struck off. If it were a hospital it would be in special measures, if it were a nursing home it would've been closed down.

    How the NMC dare ask for any more money from registrants is beyond me: sort yourselves out first then ask for more money!

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  • Unlike its predecessors the NMC has developed into what is essentially a prosecution service using the concomitantly large amount of resources at its disposal via for example the often extended use of very expensive lawyers hired externally to review and to recreate cases around what has sometimes been quite minor disciplinary infringements. Such investigations are often accompanied by NMC interim practice conditions and can last for months and with the addition of post tribunal "substantial" conditions, years. Experience suggests that NMC referrals are too often applied by rogue employer managers who have applied what appears as maliciously disciplinary consequences to certain nurse employees who for whatever reason they or their organisations whether NHS or private are interested to see removed and discredited. Any early or effective response to dismissal is diminished given the automatic case credence offered by prompt NMC referral whose immediate actions appears to maximize the regulator service development benefit impressions of increasing regulatory need especially where investigation involving "interim" practice conditions are then applied. Some decisions to prosecute appear poorly judged particularly given the hugely punitive "interim" and "substantial" practice conditions sanction applied to many NMC prosecutions and which together can run for years and is only then completed despite original timescales at the behest of the NMC. The informant telephone link available at the NMC website is available for proper and mischievous uses alike and additionally risks interfering with pre and ongoing disciplinary processes and reveals what for some is seen as an unhealthy desire to precipitate an unnecessarily early, unwelcome and potentially expensive involvement. The NMC tribunal system has developed to an industrial scale, hearing perhaps around thirty cases simultaneously, all prosecuted by £500 a day QCs housed within sumptuous tribunal settings and chaired mostly by non specialists supported by panelists whose direct experience can appear limited. Conclusions are often flimsy, contentious and occasionally seemingly miscarriages of justice involving a minimal burden of proof and with the only recourse to appeal available via the High Court, a financially gargantuan and prohibitive undertaking for the ordinary nurse unless supported by a trade union. Such tribunals, whether fairly or otherwise applied have been compared to the historical 15th century Star Chamber, i.e able to be driven by variously self-serving motives other than the simple pursuit of truth and justice with every nuance of evidence and outcome adjustable by the NMC. Although witnesses are heard, an indeterminate number of demonstrable prosecution lies have been expressed under NMC oath and have been ignored. Previous regulators appear to have offered a practice culture more in keeping with the essentially kindly motives to be found within the ordinary nurse and which apparently sought to correct poor or malpractices that certainly didn't fail to apply very serious sanctions where indicated but involving a far more humane and cost effective approach rather than the apparently blinkered pursuit of "successful" prosecutions. The current consequence of even a simple basic referral to the NMC unless totally cleared is the virtually certain destruction of even a demonstrably excellent or potentially excellent career with all the attached dire health, social and financial consequences. Thus the current philosophy and purpose of the NMC tribunal system along with those case outcomes agreed as contentious, for the sake of general propriety and future cost would be served by an early review.

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  • As I am no longer in the nursing/midwifery profession, as I was trained overseas, & not able to get my transcripts sent over, gave up on registration in UK. I think that RCN has lost the plot: why is it necessary to go to university, spend years on training, and be paid similar to admin staff - this is the most crazy situation; I have been to university, and now work within admin, & think it is not on that nurses who have trained, should start on band 5 that admin staff currently can earn, depending on their job roles. It is also crazy that nursing is seen as a career rather than a vocational choice, hence recruiting is problematic

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  • On the subject of fees, I believe it is about time that NMC does use the powers it has to convict rogue nurses, who defraud, and do not uphold standards of care to their patients; this is part of their remit, as increasingly, you will hear of the horror stories from patients about the neglect they faced while needing care. Increasingly too, foreign nurses have forged documents, have claimed free studies based on forged documents, and these cases are not as rare as one would like to think. My own experience as a user of the services is that nurses are hard faced cows after being in the job for decades, which makes them less compassionate, less able to empathise with patients and their problems; after witnessing an overweight nurse, struggling to run with the crash trolley yesterday, I also believe that it is time to get rid of the obese, as they do jeopardise patients when not able to perform as their more normal weight counterparts.

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  • NMC primary role is to regulate and where appropriate remove offenders who have demonstrated contempt for the very people they are trained to care for; RCN is the organisation which is responsible for ensuring the training programmes for nurses are fit for purpose. I am encouraged that my daughter's partner, who had to give up practising criminal law, is now employed by NMC to get rid of nurse who think they are beyond the law, after causing harm to patients.

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  • Anonymous | 10-Sep-2014 4:13 pm

    The RCN is supposed to be a trade union: for nurses run by nurses or some other sickening monicker. It has nothing whatsoever to do with regulating nurses or standards in nurse training - that's all the NMC's remit. The RCN may advise or attempt to shape, but is really nothing more than a talking-shop for those wanting to advance themselves.

    I'm glad you think that "someone who had to give up practicing criminal law" is a suitable person to determine the future of a nurses career, I certainly don't.

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