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'NMC should accept government bailout'


This week the Nursing and Midwifery Council is expected to decide whether or not to go ahead with its fee hike, bringing to an end the saga that first erupted in May.

Since then the NMC has doggedly stuck to its position that the hike is necessary to protect the public, despite anger from registrants, opposition from unions and barely disguised disquiet in Whitehall.

There are the obvious criticisms of the unfairness of such a steep fee rise at a time when nurses are already being financially squeezed. However, much of the furore has focused on the reliability of sums behind the proposed rise, from £76 to £120, based as it is largely on fi nancial predictions rather than certainties.

The NMC has been under pressure to get its maths checked by an external auditor and was urged to do so by former health secretary Andrew Lansley. The regulator’s determination to be seen as independent - heightened since ministerial intervention in appointing its new chair - seemingly led it to reject such a move.

However, Nursing Times has learnt that an audit has now taken place. We should fi nd out the results of KPMG’s financial analysis at Thursday’s NMC council meeting, where it could be a key factor in deciding whether the fee rise goes ahead or not. Either way, the much-needed transparency it will bring is to be welcomed.

The NMC’s council will also decide at the meeting whether or not to accept the government’s offer of a £20m grant. Rejecting the grant on grounds of a perceived threat to its independence would be wholly unacceptable and surely be viewed as the final straw by the profession.

The prevailing wind suggests the regulator will increase the registration fee but to a lesser degree than originally planned. Nursing Times will be attending the NMC’s council meeting on Thursday and you can keep up to date with the key decisions taken on or by following @sjcalkin on Twitter.

Last week I also had the pleasure of attending this year’s Mary Seacole Awards for nurses and midwives who have made a significant contribution to the healthcare needs of black and minority ethnic patients.

Senior nurses at the event used the words “fantastic”, “extraordinary” and “inspirational” to describe the award winners’ achievements. That tells you all you need to know. We are looking forward to seeing more remarkable individuals at our own Nursing Times Awards next week.



Readers' comments (5)

  • Can't see them accepting the Grant to be honest if, as I read earlier, it is a one-off. If they do, then next year we will be looking at a significant rise again anyway. Also, I can't imagine that the Government will give the Grant without some conditions and, given the NMC is trying to exert it's independence (read: trying to avoid all oversight so they can do what they want including making up figures and increasing registration fees), that would "endanger" their independence.
    So, they have brought in an external auditor? Can't imagine it will make any difference. If the Auditor agrees with them, then the 58% fee hike will go through; if the auditor disagrees, the NMC will just say the auditors didn't fully understand the figures and go ahead with the fee hike anyway. Either way, expect the NMC to just confirm why nobody in this country respects them, followed by a raft of nurses leaving the profession due to a governing body intent on extracting as much money as possible with complete and total contempt for the nurses they "allegedly" govern. There is only one word I can use to describe the NMC (well, politely): Pathetic

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  • I only hope that all the staff at the NMC have to undergo the types of job reviews and rebanding that those of us out on the shop floor have had to face in the past year or so.
    I also hope that once that review has taken place they to are faced with yet another year of not getting any sort of a pay rise despite everything around me going up in price.
    If it wasn't for the fact that I need my registration for my job I would withhold payment.
    The NMC has registrants over a barrel.

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  • I fear that the NMC is beyond help.

    They've tried new appointments and internal reforms without success. Perhaps it's a case of reviewing the way in which nursing & related professions are regulated? I'd welcome a more radical proposal rather than throwing more money at a failed regulator which can't be improved.

    Speaking as a health visitor, I find the NMC almost completely irrelevant. They don't even pretend to regulate my profession and they offer no information on the issues I encounter in practice. They make me re-register as a nurse, when this hasn't been my main area of practice for years.

    Supporting this organisation feels like subscribing to a protection racket!

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  • Jenni Middleton has aged terribly

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  • Don't be an idiot, Steve. A bailout is lunacy. The NMC is not fit for purpose and it's two functions should be broken up. We pay for the register and regulatory framework. The public pay for the public protection or FTP hearings. Job done.

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