Nursing associates should pay the same annual registration fee as nurses and midwives, according to proposals drawn up by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The regulator currently charges nurses and midwives a fee of £120 a year to remain on its register, but reviews this amount on an annual basis.
In documents due to be discussed at a meeting later this week, the body said the same fee should apply to both nursing associates and nurses and midwives, because the cost for it to regulate them would not be “markedly” different.
This is based on its proposal to regulate nursing associates in the same way as nurses and midwives – by overseeing registration, revalidation and fitness-to-practise activities, according to the documents.
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At the NMC’s meeting on Wednesday, council members will decide whether to launch a consultation on the proposals to set the fee at the same level. A final decision will be made by the NMC council in September 2018.
The NMC papers noted that legislative changes would then be required to introduce the fee in time for the start of 2019, when the first group of nursing associates were due to complete their training in England.
“We recommend to the council that we consult on the proposal that the fees for nursing associates are the same as the fees we charge nurses and midwives,” they stated.
“This is based on the view that the same regulatory approach and, therefore, consequential cost will apply to the three professions,” said the NMC council papers, which were published last week.
Further details are expected to be revealed at the meeting on Wednesday, when the NMC releases its draft consultation document, including proposed legislative changes in its draft Nursing and Midwifery Council Fees Amendment Rules Order of Council 2018.
Nursing associates, which are designed to sit between a healthcare assistant and registered nurse, will only be regulated in England – the first country in the UK to be piloting the training of the new role. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have so far not revealed any plans to introduce nursing associates.
Last month, the government launched a consultation on the wider legislative changes required to allow the NMC to bring nursing associates onto its register.
At the time, the NMC stressed these wider changes – to the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 – needed to be in place by July 2018 so that it had six months to complete other activities before the start of 2019, such as setting the registration fee for associates.
- Update: The NMC council subsequently backed the proposal to charge the same fee for nursing associates and registered nurses and midwives at its meeting on 29 November. It will now consult on the move before it is finalised and potentially introduced.