The Nursing and Midwifery Council has agreed not to raise annual registration fees for nurses and midwives in 2018 but has said it will need to review the payment in more detail ahead of next year.
At its council meeting yesterday, the regulator decided to keep the fee at £120 for 2018-19. It noted the payment had not been changed since 2015, when it was raised from £100.
“Given we are in a relatively healthy financial position, we are not proposing an increase in the fee this year”
NMC council papers
However, the latest council papers reveal that the NMC will review the fee level “in more detail” this year, to reflect the “growing concerns about the long-term trend of the size of the register”.
The regulator said its “greatest risk” to income was the ongoing shrinking of the register, because most of its money comes from registrant fees.
The council papers state the NMC expects the decline to continue, though it does not expect a “dramatic” fall in the number of people on its register over the coming year.
“During 2018–2019, we will be reviewing the fee level in more detail…This reflects growing concern about the…size of the register”
NMC council papers
It is predicting a £1.4m loss of income between the current financial year and 2018-19 because of the decline.
It stated: “Our budget for 2018-19 assumes a continuation of the fee at £120 with a further potential decline in income as described previously.
“Given we are in a relatively healthy financial position, we are not proposing an increase in the fee this year,” noted the council papers.
“During 2018-19, we will be reviewing the fee level in more detail, as well as improving the modelling of income for future years. This reflects growing concern about the long-term trend of the size of the register,” the document added.
Last summer, the NMC revealed that its register had shrunk for the first time in recent history due to increasing numbers of UK and European nurses and midwives leaving the register, in combination with fewer European nurses joining.
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The trend continued later into the year, resulting in a loss of 1,678 registrants between September 2016, when there were 691,416 on the register, and September 2017 when there were 689,738. Further figures from the NMC are expected in the coming weeks.
A survey by the NMC in the summer revealed staff were leaving mainly due to working conditions. The regulator said at the time that the trend highlighted the staffing challenges facing the health and care sectors, with unions describing it as “alarming”.