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'It’s time for the NMC to put its house in order'


Everywhere in the health service, both private and public sector organisations are being asked to deliver efficiency savings.

Nurses often bear the brunt of that drive to the lowest cost - in the NHS many are taking the hit by taking on more work and yet at the same time, effectively taking a pay cut to reduce the cost of providing care.

Everyone is trying to do much more with much less. Every organisation, it seems, except the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

While nurses are coming to terms with not receiving a 1% pay rise, the NMC wants them to pay an extra £20 for their registration fee, which it proposes should rise to £120 from February 2015 (page 2).

Here is an organisation running the biggest nurse register in the world, with a guaranteed annual income. The NMC knows exactly how much money it will receive each year, yet it cannot manage toend a financial year without being millions of pounds in deficit.

Surely it’s time to take a long hard look at how the council is run and consider whether its operations should be streamlined? Every other organisation in healthcare is having to change the way it runs its service, so isn’t it reasonable to suggest the NMC reflects the landscape it operates in and fi nds ways of doing more for less?

Every organisation in healthcare is having to change the way it runs its service, so isn’t it reasonable to suggest the NMC finds ways of doing more for less?

The Professional Standards Authority’s audit of the NMC has found several concerns in the regulator’s own staff’s compliance with its procedures, avoidable delays in progressing cases and poor practice in handling of reviews of interim orders. What’s worrying too is that the NMC failed to identify the serious issues raised by the PSA in its own internal review of its handling of cases involving registrants employed by Mid Staffs. The NMC lacks the ability to be critical of its own organisation, and be objective about what it does or more importantly identify what it could do better. Is it a real leap to suggest that it may lack the capacity to judge its own efficiency?

The consultation on the fee rise will run from May to July, and I don’t expect a single nurse to be in favour, yet the profession seems resigned to the fact that the NMC will carry on regardless. And sadly, it probably will.

It’s neither sustainable nor appropriate to ask the government to throw money at the NMC every time the regulator finds itself in trouble. But neither should the NMC constantly look to nurses to bail it out of fi nancial difficulty.

It is time for the NMC to put its house in order. It must look at where money can be saved and how it can protect the public without costing nurses the earth. Surely it can’t be that difficult to cut its cloth according to its means? After all, everyone else is having to do it.

Jenni Middleton, editor Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Readers' comments (19)

  • Regulatory fees.....

    NMC = £94
    Health & Care Professionals Council = £65
    GMC = £360
    General Dental Council = £301
    Gen Pharmaceutical Council = £195
    Gen Optical Council = £317
    Gen Osteopathi Council = £573
    Gen Chiropractic Council = £817

    Nobody wnats the fees to go up but maybe if the fees were increased they could attract some qulity people into the NMC to sort the mess out!

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  • why do the quacks pay much higher fees than the professionals. they must earn a lot more?

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  • Scrap them all, if the Health & Care Professionals Council = £65 then why cant the rest. Combine them all and economies of scale. They have failed to regulate effectively with the courts doing most of the running for some cases anyway. They have let off people who any sane person would have struck off.

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  • one regulatory body, one fee for all, top management from the best unprejudiced managers paid reasonable salaries and who are dedicated to those they serve and the core values and principles of high standards of patient care and those who provided.

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  • Anonymous | 5-Apr-2014 9:33 am
    Not a bad idea, but the NMC would never be able to recognize a "best unprejudiced managers" if the selected individual bit the NMC on the nose.

    I concur with all the opinions above, about the Hearings systems of the NMC and add that they are so arrogant they ignore the advice of the registrant about what evidence is required to provide information about the case in question. And flatly refused(openly) to obtain the data from the complainant Manager.

    So without the prerequisite information sending the complaint through 4 committees over 2-3 years all serving no useful purpose is simply a waste of time. and leaving the nurse cruelly dangling. Do as you would be done by, NMC!

    To add to the £500/ hour lawyers you can add the £300/day registrant who is the sole "representative" Nurse in a room of non clinical people on issues which are often clinical. How does this provide a fair hearing? There is no record of their qualifications or experience which sets them up to be an "expert" in all the different cases they sit in on anyway. the hearing records does not demonstrate any comment on this individuals wisdom or lack of it.

    As for the NMC's guide lines for hearings is "Fair, Just and timely". They should all be sacked, tried and disqualified. Because they have failed to meet their own targets and standards.

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  • I recall commenting before the last rise in NMC fees and I made a suggestion then, which was-one way the NMC could cut costs would be to MOVE their headquarters out of the most expensive area in the country i.e. Portland Place, London. The rental and utility costs must be phenomenal, and our fees are paying for them. Why does the NMC have to be based in London? I'm sure there are nicer and cheaper areas in the country.

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  • Anonymous | 8-Apr-2014 8:43 am

    According to the NMC the rent on Portland Place is £250pa.

    But they(NMC) are shockingly unable to work out what is good value and how not to waste money. Why should they? They will just bleed the cash cow.

    They have just spent £3mil doing up a suite of rooms in Old Bailey for which they only have 2 years of lease anyway! One has to question the wisdom of this. And who benefited the most from the contract, too?

    At Hearings, a swanky catering company provides delicious buffet style meals with tremendous waste. Which make one wonder how on earth the NMC justify this... do they qlso provide meals for the staff, and if not, is it equivalent to eating off the food trolley in the wards?

    The provision of so much food is surely unnecessary, unless it is a good meal for the condemned Nurse, before they are sent into the wilderness. As though the individual hasn't been forced to be in the wilderness waiting for years, while the NMC have ponderously and blockheadedly " done their best NOT to investigate" any aspect of the nurses case, lest evidence be found to undermine the decision to proceed in the first place. For this process there are innumerable staff.

    Though the NMC has a
    staff attrition Rate of 1/4 to 1/3 of its entire staff, every year, and that must cost an arm and a leg to replace too.

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  • Good the see the NT engaging and promoting honest, transparent discussion although fear induced PIN-loss anxiety neurosis remains widely evident but is confirmation of the need for change.

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  • £500 an hour lawyers? Solicitors AND barristers presenting a case? Prosecution QCs? Swanky catering company providing buffet meals? Really? Where have these details been plucked from?

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