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EDITOR’S COMMENT

'NMC is out of touch with the profession'

  • 21 Comments

The winter nights are drawing in now the clocks have gone back, but that’s not the only cause of gloom.

The winter nights are drawing in now the clocks have gone back, but that’s not the only cause of gloom. The Nursing and Midwifery Council’s registration fee will now go up from the current level of £76 to £100, instead of the £120 proposed in May.

The fact that the NMC council took two hours to deliberate over whether to accept the £20m government bailout or make registrants pay all of the rise it originally called for, indicates that council members are somewhat out of touch with what’s really happening in nursing.

They should know better. Pay and conditions are being eroded, as Nursing Times reporter Shaun Lintern exclusively reveals. And although it contains some wins - sticking to Agenda for Change on the whole, it concedes to the scrapping of enhanced out-of-hours sick pay.

The draft deal on NHS workers’ pay, terms and conditions has been described as “the least worst option”.

And nurses are still facing yet another year of a real-terms pay cut - as even the 1% rise that’s been mooted by the government will be well below the rate of inflation.

The NMC’s own consultation on the fee hike informed it that 5% of registrants would leave the profession if they were forced to pay the increased fee rise of £120. How could it ignore this strong evidence that such a hefty increase would cause an exodus of experienced nursing talent?

How could they possibly think there was any other option but to accept the government’s help that the unions had been lobbying so hard for?

Some have raised eyebrows at the government bailout, suggesting that registrants should be wary of losing their independent
regulator. But, frankly, with the government breathing down the neck of the NMC heavily last year and this, and then calling in the heavies in the shape of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence to scrutinise what had been going on behind closed doors at the regulator - I think that ship of independence had long sailed.

The NMC has failed its members - it admitted as much in its press conference this summer. Now it needs to turn the tanker around - get its fitness to practise cases into a manageable order and manage its fi nances with the care and propriety that it demands from registrants. All eyes are watching.

  • 21 Comments

Readers' comments (21)

  • I love that you haven't understood at all that Susan Markham is clearly being ironic when she talks about cocaine suppositories. Come on guys! Sense of humour bypass (by the way, that's not a real operation - thought I'd better make that clear).

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  • As someone who once tried to rally the profession to fight, usually to a sea of apathy and the odd wave of derision, I don't feel totally out of line saying well what did you all expect to happen? You only have yourselves to blame, and you all as a collective profession should be ashamed of yourselves for your apathy and lack of action on ANY issue that has affected nursing!

    It's a disgrace that we have to pay the NMC at all, there are no words for the fact that now you will have to pay almost double. Your pay is being eroded more and more each day, when it is ALREADY vastly undervalued from the pay level nurses SHOULD be on. For those of you still in the NHS pension scheme? Take it and run NOW if you can. If you can't, well good luck! You'll need it! Should I get started on working conditions? Ward Politics? Pah!

    Well I'm out of it now. I got sick and tired of it all. My mind, body and soul could no longer take the punishment that is the nursing 'profession'. And no, I didn't retire, still 20 or 30 odd years away from that yet. I found a better job. Simple as that. One where I am respected, better treated and better paid. It is an absolute disgrace that I (and others) even had to feel that nursing is no longer worth it.

    But as a final Hurrah,a salute to a profession I used to love, I will urge you ALL to do one final thing.

    When the letter comes through the door, REFUSE to pay it! Send them a letter back stating that you will pay the previous fee, and no more. If they do not like it, then they can have nothing. Cancel your direct debits so that they don't take it out automatically. Get the unions involved if they threaten to remove you from the register. What will the NMC do, chuck you ALL off the register? So what if they do? They need you to survive more than you need them. They will not exist without nurses, there will still be a need for nurses without the NMC. They need to be remindd of that fact.

    But this will only work en masse.

    Do not pay. If you do, you may as well just bend over and forego your pay altogether. After all, we can all pay our bills on altruism, right?

    RIP NHS, RIP nursing. You served with distinction. Once.

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  • Mike
    Did you ever get to Oz? As for asking the nurses to strike, they'd much rather report each other to the NMC for forgetting to sign for paracetamol 4 years ago then ever challenge their 'betters'. A group of ( mostly male) tube drivers want a 10% increase or they'll cause disruption for the nations sports day ( how long ago does the Olympics seem now!) and get it.
    A group of ( mostly female) nurses get their pensions robbed, and have the dubious honour of working a decade longer for it, with no staff, no promotion prospects, little professional esteem, reduced pay and conditions and they bend over and take it like the good little girls they are because the patients will suffer, little knowing that by not fighting they are suffering already.
    I am beginning to wonder whether we should have an all-male nursing union ( before you all scream the teachers have a very successful WOMENS union) to represent this minority group of nurses. Wonder how long it would take us to fight for our conditions, and after how long our demands would be listened to. Wouldn't be long I'd bet.

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  • tinkerbell

    mike | 2-Nov-2012 9:13 pm

    'Sea of apathy' yeah i know what that group look like where i worked. All looking at me like i had 2 heads when i asked what they thought about it all and if they were prepared to take any action.

    redpaddys12 | 3-Nov-2012 3:34 am

    What are you trying to insert?

    But if you do form an all male union can some of us alpha females join incognito?

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  • tinkerbell
    Of course you and Mags ( and a few others) can join, there will be fake beards all round ( think the Life of Brian) and clay pipes for all!
    As for insertions, well I think we're all biting the pillow these days, wouldn't surprise me if it burst out of our collective ears!

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  • tinkerbell

    the NMC, they're barking. Padded cell is what they need.

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  • Yes, it's unfair that we have another increase in our registration fees but lets not get this out of proportion. It works out out at 0.6 per cent of a newly qualified nurses salary and much less a percentage of an experienced higher grade nurse.

    Mike,
    it was bad enough having to put up with your ranting when you were a nurse. If your new job is as wonderful as you say why are you spending so much time reminiscing on here.

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  • Anonymous | 5-Nov-2012 9:35 am, and thank you for reminding me of one of the many reasons I am better off away from this so called profession.

    I have had the privilege of working with some wonderful nurses over the years, but in general nursing is the most bitter, twisted, bitchy and nasty workplaces I have ever had the misfortune to come across. So thank you of being a shining example of that. Adios.

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  • mike | 7-Nov-2012 0:43 am

    Well said, as usual, Mike. I have always enjoyed your rants and hope to continue reading them.

    Unfortunately, there are those here who continue to think that not being a nurse (although, I think you stated elsewhere that your registration remains current), somehow precludes you from holding an opinion or having the right to express it. Perhaps, the question being asked here should be why experienced, compassionate and articulate nurses leave the profession?

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  • Thank you mags.

    Yeah, my registration remains current although that will change when this proposed fee rise comes in. And despite leaving the profession, my interest in keeping up to date with clinical knowledge hasn't seemed to wane, which is why I tend to read a lot.

    But I think to be honest that the question should be why experienced, compassionate and articulate nurses STAY in the profession, given the way they are treated?

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