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NMC delays decision on fee rise


The Nursing and Midwifery Council has delayed its decision on the proposed fee increase by a month, but has refused a request from former health secretary Andrew Lansley to bring in an external auditor to look at the business case for the hike.

The regulator’s council was due to make a decision on whether to go ahead with the unpopular increase in the annual registration fee at its latest meeting yesterday.

However, acting chief executive Jackie Smith announced that the decision had been postponed to allow for a full analysis of the 26,476 responses submitted to its consultation on the proposal. A decision will now be made at October’s meeting.

It is the latest twist in the saga since the NMC first proposed increasing the fee from £76 to £120 in May.

Presenting the monthly finance report, NMC interim director of resources Paul Hackwell said the regulator’s financial health “depends on the size of [the fee rise] and when it comes”, and the “likelihood” was the increase would come through but would be delayed.

The NMC had originally budgeted for the fee increase to come in in January but is now budgeting for it to be introduced from the end of February.

However, outgoing interim chair Judith Ellis told the council there was still an option not to increase the fee.

She also revealed the NMC had refused Mr Lansley’s request in August for an external audit of the business case for the fee rise.

Like many of the health unions, Mr Lansley was concerned that assumptions on which the business case was based, such as that referrals would rise, were not sound. A report to the board showed referrals to the regulator had been falling since the beginning of 2012, although they were still significantly higher than 2010.

Professor Ellis said: “The business case was sound. We did not agree to do an audit going back.”

Asked whether the DH had agreed to provide any funding to the NMC on either a one off or a regular basis, Professor Ellis said the NMC was “constantly” talking to the DH and there would be more to say at October’s meeting.

Royal College of Midwives deputy general secretary Louise Silverton told Nursing Times it was a “disappointment” the NMC had decided not to go ahead with external audit.

“It would have given more assurance to registrants that they have looked at it in detail. We have seen today that referrals are going down and the increase is based on referrals going up.”

Stephen Iwasyk, a mental health nurse who started a petition against the fee increase, attended the meeting and told the council most nurses felt “distant” from the NMC.

He said: “We’re plodding along and someone says we’re taking this money off you, the good ones, to pay for the bad ones and we don’t feel as if we matter.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This is a decision for the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as an independent body. We have publicly made it clear to all the health regulators that we would not expect to see rises in registration fees except where it is essential to fulfil their statutory duties.”


Readers' comments (30)

  • "Jackie Smith announced that the decision had been postponed to allow for a full analysis of the 26,476 responses submitted to its consultation on the proposal."

    a lengthy and costly exercise requiring a number of appropriately trained and qualified staff.

    A panel of nurses from the front line of a number of different hospitals without any vested interests should oversee this work to ensure that it carried our properly and fully.

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  • What has the MNC to hide if it refuses external auditors throught the obviously large palatial front doors of Portland Place?
    What do you have to hide if you dont want to be scrutinised? Part of it's role is to protect the public or is it to protect itself? If the truth was known it seems unfit for purpose..............

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 2:05 pm

    surely everything should have been brought to light by the recent investigations by the CHRE and the PM's Commission enquiry?

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  • Costs a lot of money for all that hospitality that the FTP panels lap up every day of the week. Remove that gravy train and then lets see how many of the great and good of the profession want to be involved.

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 12:14 pm

    "A panel of nurses from the front line of a number of different hospitals without any vested interests should oversee this work"

    Apparently there aren't any to spare.....

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 2:23 pm

    there are those sitting at home without a job wondering if they should emigrate!

    perhaps before they go...

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  • Anonymous | 14-Sep-2012 10:57 am

    "company reports have to be produced annually and they are audited and signed by the auditors with a statement to say they reflect the truth. Without going into them at the moment as I don't have time, I don't recall the exact wording and I believe PriceWaterhouseCooper are their auditors. Does this mean they can't be trusted either? I suppose after all the banking fiascos no financial firm can be considered 100% trustworthy. "

    Thankyou for putting me straight on that. Honestly, I wasn't thinking about that as today was the first time I had realised about the planned hike in fees and I was slightly irate when I posted. Having said that, I still don't trust the NMC anyway. They have done absolutely nothing since their inception (ie changing from UKCC or whatever it was) to validate a single members' trust. Even when Nurses' rights are being trampled and we are being dragged over the coals by the media as a profession, the NMC just sits in their offices and does and says absolutely nothing.
    All I know right now is, quite simply, if the NMC go through with the implementation of this planned robbery of it's members (and yes it is robbery when we are getting nothing in return for paying), I for one, will be revoking my own registration and finding another career as I refuse to pay a fortune to a bunch of people who couldn't even organise or run a tea party!

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  • Obviously nurses count for nothing these days. I would like a nice cushy job doing absolutely nothing. They need to get in the real world and see just how this rise would affect all decent hard working people.

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  • This is another triumph for the communications arm of the NMC. No publicity about this except word of mouth or via Facebook initially.

    Nurses are being taxed through the back door, no pun intended, and nobody seems to give a damn.

    How many of the 700,000 nurses on the register are now contemplating leaving this proud profession because of this foregone conclusion ?

    Nurses are not considered worthy of the price of a stamp, says a lot for the regulators, in order to keep the NMC in increasingly fat expense accounts so worthy of those other crooks, the they want our PIN numbers next ?

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  • foxygeri44

    please see below..the figures speak for themselves.the proposed fee increase will NOT just be for next year but will need to be increased again...and again...and wonder they don't want an external financial audit!

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