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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)

  • foxygeri44

    2002-2013...= 279% increase!!!!

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  • 279% - in line with our pay increase then!

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  • Be great if we could choose a regulator like choosing a union.....

    The competition would be fierce ! LOL

    The government should dissolve the NMC for starters
    Give power to local authorities, employers to deal with complaints, situations...Nurses work stressed, and I hear this so often " I dont want to loose my pin!....good old colleague ship is a thing of the past, now we are more or less paranoid, spending far too much time doing all the paper work that is means we have done our work!!!!..yes I know..said it before...

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  • Do the unions have the power they once had ??????..if so we would all be on strike.....NOW...

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  • Do the unions have the power they once had ??????..if so we would all be on strike.....NOW...

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  • Seem to be an awful lot of interim staff employed at the NMC - anyone there concerned with its long term stability?

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  • Anonymous | 17-Sep-2012 12:39 pm

    I agree. it's high time they got themselves sorted out and ask for reasonable fee rises only when they have and if they can justify such a move.

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  • Well...seeing as the NMC are accountable to Parliament (through their 'Privi council' (whatever/whoever that is)) and the public - these are their words not mine, then surely we (the public) could write/contact them to ask WTF is going on and why they seem to be deaf to most peoples opinions that their choice to hike up the fee seems to go unheard?!

    And maybe we should be pestering our MPs to add pressure into this debate.

    NMC have earned a 'vote of no confidence' and we as nurses should be able to be associated with a professional setup that is just that!

    I'm not sure who the biggest idiots are - The NMC for getting away with murder and seeing Parliament as a limp government powerless to step in, or the Government for letting the NMC make a mockery of them and show how powerless they are...the NMC are loose cannons!

    Either way, its probably the 'fat cats' not wanting to rock the boat as they will have some "interest" (money) in it all, and they dont want to stop that! do we set up a different regulator?...........

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  • Have just found this thread. I have been Nursing for over 30 years, am now in my 50`s. I am so disillusioned. I have been off work nearly 6 months due to a back injury at work. MRI reveals multiple bulging discs/osteophytes/nerve impingements/ chronic pain & multiple medications, a present from undertaking the job that I love but will probably have to leave. The NMC registration fee increase for no reason other than GREED to keep `them` in the lifestyle to witch we all can only dream is the final nail in the coffin for me, I now don`t want to return to work. Here`s hoping for ill health retirement, before the job puts me in a wheelchair!

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  • Why cant Andrew Lansley INSIST on an audit? Are the NMC a law unto themselves? I cannot believe the audacity of these people we pay to keep in a job. And might I say, get paid a great deal more than us. I like many other nurses are suffering for our profession. ie. bad backs, stress, increase in our work load. We are like mini doctors. Cutus some slack, and apreciate what we do and stop kicking us when we are down. Not the most academic comment, but from the broken heart.

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