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Regulator’s decision to up fees sparks union criticism

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Operating department practitioners and members of 15 other health and care professions will see their annual regulation fee increase after a decision by the Health and Care Professions Council.

The regulator has decided today to increase its annual fee by 18% from £90 to £106 a year, attracting strong criticism from a number of unions, including Unison and Unite.

“It is hugely disappointing that the HCPC has decided to proceed with such a huge fee increase2

Sara Gorton

The council regulates a range of health, social work and psychological professions, also taking on new professions when there is a compelling case.

Responding to the decision, Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “It is hugely disappointing that the HCPC has decided to proceed with such a huge fee increase despite overwhelming opposition.

sara gorton for story

sara gorton for story

Sara Gorton

“The HCPC should be doing all it can to encourage paramedics, radiographers, occupational therapists and all the others it regulates to continue in their professions, not discouraging them with such a disproportionate hike in fees,” she said.

The union has urged politicians to support an early day motion on the issue, which currently has the support of 32 MPs.

Ms Gorton said: “We urge MPs to support the early day motion calling on the HCPC to reconsider its decision.”

Meanwhile, fellow union Unite has today handed the regulator’s chief executive, Marc Seale, a petition with 38,000 signatures against the hike in fees.

It claimed the HCPC had delivered a “snub” to healthcare professionals by pushing ahead with what it described as an “extortionate” registration fee increase.

Unite professional officer

Jane Beach

Jane Beach

Jane Beach, Unite’s lead professional officer for regulation, said: “Today the views of the 38,000 mainly health professionals who signed the petition have been ignored which is very disappointing, given the cogent arguments we put forward that NHS pay has stagnated in real terms while the cost of living has raced ahead.

“The HCPC has given a massive snub to our members’ legitimate concerns about any fee hike,” she said.

She added: “We consulted widely with our members who have to register with the HCPC in order that they can work professionally – and they gave the proposed increase a resounding thumbs down. Now they have been given a financial kick in the teeth by the HCPC.”

Unite argued that the increase from October 2019 would be another financial blow to hard-pressed NHS staff who have seen the fees increase by 40% since 2014.

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