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NMC fee to rise to £100 in February


Nurses will pay £100 to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council from February, following a decision by the regulator today.  

The NMC council has chosen to increase the fee by 32% from £76 to £100 for two years, after which it will rise to £120. This replaces its original plan to move straight to £120 in January 2013, which would have represented a 58% increase.

The fee rise will have to approved by the Privy Council. However, today’s decision at the NMC council’s latest meeting in London seemingly brings to an end the saga that first erupted in May, when it first proposed increasing the fee.

Since then the NMC has doggedly stuck to its position that the hike is necessary to shore up its finances and protect the public, despite anger from registrants and opposition from unions.

Its current registration fee of £76 per annum was implemented in August 2007, and generates income of £52m per annum. However, the regulator has seen a significant rise in fitness to practise referrals in recent years, which it predicts will rise even further over the next few years.

According to council papers, direct expenditure on fitness to practise in 2011-2012 was £31m, a 50% increase on the prior year. Total NMC revenue expenditure was £61m and total revenue was £53m, creating a deficit of £8m, which was effectively funded by reserves.

The government offered the regulator a grant of £20m earlier this month to ease its financial problems and negate the need for such a steep fee hike. The NMC chose to accept the grant at the meeting today.

The regulator’s ruling council discussed four options this morning at its latest meeting, some of which included accepting the grant and some not.

One option would have seen no fee increase and the £20m grant accepted. But it would almost certainly have resulted in a scaling back of fitness to practise and other regulatory activity, meaning the NMC would be failing to fulfil its core remit of public protection.

The second option would have seen the £20m grant rejected and resulted in the annual registration fee rise to £120 next year, as originally proposed by the NMC.

The third option, which was chosen by the majority of council members, will see the fee rise to £100 for two years and then £120 after that. This option includes the NMC accepting the government grant.

A fourth option would have seen the fee rise to £95 in 2013-14, £105 in 2014-2015, £120 in 2015-16.

As revealed by Nursing Times this week, the NMC has bowed to pressure and commissioned financial consultants KPMG to audit the sums behind its fee rise.

The regulator had previously rejected such a move and claimed its business case was sound, despite two letters from former health secretary Andrew Lansley asking it to commission the work.

The results of the KPMG review were also due to be presented this morning at the council meeting.

Despite being a lower fee hike than previously threatened, Unison descibed the 32% increase as “unfair and disproportionate” in the light of the £20m grant offered by the government.  

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: “This is an appalling move by the NMC. There is no justice in making nurses and midwives – who have had no pay rise for two years – pay for the past financial mismanagement of the NMC.

“The NMC could, and should have postponed this decision and used the time to rebuild the trust and confidence of registrants. There was nothing to stop the NMC from freezing registration fees and reviewing the situation next year; they could then use the grant to start addressing the backlog of fitness to practise cases.”

Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Nurses across the UK have repeatedly objected to the proposed hike in NMC fees, at a time when many are struggling financially.

“We are staggered that with an increase of over 30%, the NMC is still asking for frontline nurses to pay the penalty for a problem which is not of their making. We are also staggered that nurses are still being asked to pay for the failures of their regulator, with no real assurance that the fundamental problems will be solved.

“We still need to see the outcome of a full financial audit, and the profession needs to have confidence that the lessons are learnt from this fiasco and that there will be ongoing, high-level scrutiny of the organisation. Without this, nurses and the government could end up throwing good money after bad.”

“The RCN welcomed the Department of Health’s offer, which our members have called for repeatedly. Now more than ever, they will want to be reassured about the long term future of their professional regulation. A strong and effective nursing regulator is vital for the public, patients and the future of the nursing profession.”

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “‘The RCM has worked hard to get the best possible result for its members, and we are pleased that we’ve achieved something by lobbying for the £20m grant from the government that the NMC has accepted.

“Many of the NMC council members took on-board our concerns about the effects the fee increase will have, particularly on those who only work a few hours a week and on newly qualified midwives.”

She added: “No one is happy to see an increase, but the NMC have committed to an annual review of the situation which will allow us to see if the NMC’s assumptions about its finances are accurate. The NMC’s suggestion that fees could go down if predictions aren’t as they expect is welcome.”

More details on the NMC’s decision and response to follow. Follow @sjcalkin on Twitter for live updates from the meeting.


Readers' comments (67)

  • Brilliant!! We are in a recession (the worst for decades), have had to put up with pay freezes and now we have to pay more money for registration because some bean counter didn't do their maths properly in the first place!!! Is there a register we can have them struck off?? Once again, (along with my car insurance etc.) I am having to pay for someone else’s poor practice!

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  • SHAME ON YOU ..... NMC - you are holding us to ransom!! The surveys have demonstrated that 'we' as nurses/midwives totally reject the proposed rise.... this doesnt matter does it? If you havent enough money from us, then look at ways to be more efficient with the £52m you have from us... surely you can look at other ways apart from getting more money from us.. doing it this way you just as well put our yearly fee up to whatever you want, because without our registration, we cant work!! and you know this..... we have to pay whatever you say.... this doesnt give me much confidence in you as my professional body...

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  • Is this just a stay of execution ?
    While I accept the need for the NMC to uphold it's core responsibilities and protect the the public, it needs to start living within its means (we have to !). It's about time that there was a root and branch review of what the NMC does for Registrants (inc costs), and what it does for the public. And that any future increases are linked to public service pay levels, and are matched with internal efficiency savings too. This is a regulator whose only clout I feel in my pocket.

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  • Maybe if more thought and planning was put into recruitment (home and abroad) then less mistakes would happen? At least the NMC can now be put up in first class rooms for their hearings. Opps, forgot that happens already.
    I think the police should be informed, as the nursing profession is being robbed :-((

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  • Maybe it's time for us to have a look at what they are spending their money on. We have all had to cut down on luxuries and now even some necessities. Nursing is becoming an expensive occupation. To fund this I will have to look at what I can cut down on again to carry on working as a nurse.

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  • I think the nursing unions and professional associations need to get together and force a vote of no confidence in the NMC- we need a fit for purpose regulatory body - not this mickey mouse outfit

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  • Sold down the river yet again, but as previously said they have us by the short and curlies. We need to insist that the unions fight this and take the NMC to task, otherwise in 2 years time what will they be putting our fees up to then. Come on nurses and nursing unions, have some backbone and fight them all the way otherwise eventually it wont be worth working as a nurse as all your wages would have gone to other people.

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  • Go on what else can you hit me with?
    Has the NMC not realised that nurses have had their pay frozen, been subjected to rebanding, threatened with redundancy in the last 2-3 years.

    I hope that the staff at the NMC are subjected to the same treatment as we have had at the frontline.

    What will I need to give up in order to pay my fees in order to keep my job. Feel like a hamster in a wheel.

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  • Susan Markham

    Oh Dear......

    I see a lot of Qualified RNs shuffling off to better climes like Australia, Canada, The USA, New Zealand, Germany, France, Botswana, The Yukon Territories, The Shetland Isles, Jamaica, The Falklands, Hawaii, South Africa or even Nauru...

    The NMC is holding their subscribers by the "balls/lady bits/flappy things" just because they think they can...

    How soon will they realise that they cannot keep up their luxurious lifestyle by encouraging obviously erroneous "Fitness To Practice" cases to come up before them in their sumptuous/splendid London location?

    Word to the wise... "It was nice while it lasted dears - now you have to cut back on the Champagne and the Rollers"


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  • michael stone

    £100 and then £120 - what lovely 'neat' figures: obviously very much evidence-based on a seriously conducted study of how much money needs to be raised ! Not.

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  • Ellen Watters

    :(.. jeez just what we don't need on top of everything else.. No wonder morale is low and nurses are leaving in droves.

    It MIGHT be a bit easier if we were allowed to pay in monthly direct debits instead of having it all taken off in one payment chunk.. Or is this too complicated

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  • Susan Markham | 25-Oct-2012 1:43 pm

    Australian Regulator APHRA charge $160 for renewal and $40 for LATE renewal (something that the NMC do not charge for). So that works out £102 for renewal and £25 if you are late with renewing. With APHRA you need to register with each individual state.. Could work out expensive?

    New Zealand Nursing Council charge $110 for renewal which is £56.

    One of Canadas regulators, College and Association of Reg Nurses Alberta charge $546 for registration which is £341. Again, same as APHRA you have to register with each state.

    South African Nursing Council charge 490 SA Rand which is £34. A lot cheaper...

    Californian Nursing Board charge $140 which is around £86.

    Those are just a handful of your suggested ones Susan, not really better climes are they?

    At least in the UK we can claim our tax back on NMC fees which makes it a little better.

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  • Ellen Watters | 25-Oct-2012 2:10 pm

    Paying by monthly direct debit is a lot more complicated than we think.

    If you think about it, at the moment the fees are annually - if you pay late your registration lapses meaning you cannot leagally work and loose pay.

    Monthly direct debits then mean there is a monthly risk that your registration can lapse if a direct debit is unpaid.. Which can cause many implications for our trusts etc

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  • Unbelievable but then considering the way things are at present, not really. I can remeber paying £36 for 3 years when first qualified, so based on the low salary I got then, compared to the fantastic public sector salary I am on now (pay freeze, pension increases, pay cartel, sarcasim aside!!!), I reckon should be about £80 per 3 years!!! Need the unions to fight this otherwise really is getting to 'last one out turn off the light'.

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  • In response to this, I think a very good question is ... how do the NMC get through £31m on fitness to practise... just how many cases do they hear and what exactly are the costs... on what? I would love to know why it costs so much? We never seem to get any information as nurses. There is still £22m spend on other things.

    I know we will have to pay more for our union but that I do not mind so much as we need to protect ourselves. Did anyone hear the Moral Maze on radio 4 last night? Some woman ( I am not sure of her name as I only started listening in 3/4 of the way through), but she was publicly and what seemed to be ill-informedly denigrating nurses as if we are the whole problem with the NHS. I encourage as many people as possible to listen on the radio 4 equivalent of i-player. We need to defend ourselves. I will certainly try to find time to find out exactly who she was.

    We are having a huge fight (see RCN paper to the government) about the 1% cap on pay next year. We have in essence taken a pay cut with the previous 2 year freeze. We are meant to be accountable but what is going on in the NMC?

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  • Total Disgrace. no pay rise, single parent might aswell hand over the PIN number and scrounge off the state!

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  • This is a bold statement saying they will do what as they like.
    Fees in other countries might be higher, but the work does not carry the stress as here in England. I have observed nurses in other countries at work and I dream on that my job could be so enjoyable.

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  • Outraged and disgusted at this decision. Are nurses ever listened to?

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  • What are the unions doing about this? The same as they did about pensions and pay freeze - absolutely nothing. Why do we pay any of these people for them to go cow-towing to management. They absolutely do NOT represent the people who pay them i.e. members. As others have pointed out, health trusts and NMC have got nurses by the balls. And to make it worse, nurses just roll over and play dead as usual. When are you going to take action? If we all fight this together they will have to back down. Employers obviously think we are an easy target, we are supposed to be professionals, and yet we are paid less than garbage collectors.

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  • I bet the majority of fitness to practice referrals are due to people making mistakes, being stressed out, due to the volume of work, poor staffing levels, and increase in extra responsibilities given to nurses without managing to attend training for these extra tasks due to poor staffing levels, volume of work, and the cycle goes on.

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  • I recently went to the NMC buildings in Aldwych and in Portland place. It was clear that a huge amount of our money is being spent on these state of the art premises.
    We saw several Starbucks coffee orders arrive while we (and staff) sat around waiting for the only hearing they had on that day to start. I wonder how much it costs for them to employ so many staff in several central London locations? They clearly have better working conditions than nurses.

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  • Wow. I'm just joining the nursing profession and have had to rely on student loans and NHS bursaries to survive. The £76 fee I recently paid was too much for me - had to borrow it from a relative.

    If this was some sort of fee that was paid every three years instead of annually, then maybe I'd be more open to this rise. But to (eventually) pay £120/year in order to do a job I've always wanted to do? It's too much.

    I understand the NMC's role, and of course it's a necessary organisation. But to ignore the thousands of nurses & midwives and to ignore the unions that have fought against's unacceptable.

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  • In reply to anonymous (2:12pm) - I appreciate your figures but it I would need to know how much nurses earn in these countries and the relative cost of living to make a true comparison.

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  • I don't think nurses would mind the exhorbitant fees so much if we had a decent regulator that was open and honest but all we see is a group of people shacked up in a really expensive property doing a job that isn't fit for purpose. Perhaps if they pulled their collective fingers out and actually expedited some of these hearings (I think 2014 was a suggested completion date for the current batch), they'd save a lot of our money.

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  • Not worth it will consider joining an agency as a H C A many of whom get the same pay as an N H S nurse Thornbury more in some cases less stress and no worries about fees and finding the money I too remember paying
    £36 every 3 years can't really say I've noticed any benefits with the increase to be honest been disillusioned for a while now this just makes it easy to admit time to leave

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  • This is taking the biscuit, taking tax payers money and raising fees. Who's not fit for practice?
    With the rises, I guess the tax office will receive about £6 and £11 less per registrant when reg fees are £100 and £120 respectively which each of us are hit with. How many registrants are there? That's a few million pounds out of the hmrc coffers.
    So we're all paying for NMC staff pay rises when we've got a bigger pay cut.
    The question should be what are we going to do about it, not just leaving it to the unions or government, as not all registrants are in unions, but are all tax payers paying for someone else's mistakes. I wouldn't trust this government to bail out a boat, no chance with a sinking ship + a poor economy.

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  • To whom are the NMC accountable?

    How does one go about raising concerns about their competence?

    Is nobody listening?

    What kind of charade is this?

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  • maybe they never intended to put the fees up to 120, it was just a ruse so that when they 'agreed' to a figure of 100 (which was probably their intention in the first place) we wouldn't mind so much.

    I don't believe for one second that this fee increase is justified, they do nothing for nurses.

    Why can't they come forward and tell us why they expect US to pay for the nursing homes and mid-staff failings, why not fine the hospital board who failed to take notice when staff raised concerns.

    I should like them to publish details of what they are going to do for ME, if they have a backlog of FtP hearings that cost a fortune that is not my concern. I want to know what I am getting for my money.

    They keep saying they need the money to protect the public, trying to make us feel responsible. If there are so many bad nurses out there how come they were allowed on the register in the first place, PREP was a pointless exercise which no doubt cost a fortune too.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Oct-2012 7:33 am

    To whom are the NMC accountable?

    How does one go about raising concerns about their competence?

    Here's a good starting point;

    The NMC needs a dose of size 10 to its corporate arse. It needs to get out of London and stop its ridiculous processes that allow cases to run up huge expenses bills. I work for a voluntary organisation that used to make a contribution to lost expenses, I wonder what changes have been made in budgeting for expense reimbursement at the NMC over the last few years?

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  • There are somethings that everyone who reads this article, can do.
    Write to your local MP.
    Sign the petition
    Email the NMC directly and complain/put your views
    Do something constructive instead of moaning about it and maybe, just maybe, something will happen.

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  • They boast in their literature that they have the biggest nursing register of nurses on the planet. That equates with more money from registrants than anywhere else in the world doesnt it? I think a vote of no confidence in the NMC incompetent financiers as mentioned above is a really good idea, then take the NMC out of London and move it North where it's cheaper! I think these days, scrounging off the state is a viable option, I'm thinking about that myself.

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  • Hmmm....I still believe that the NMC are, effectively, a bunch of thieves. They are inefficient and ineffective. I am waiting to hear that all NMC staff will be receiving a pay rise next year. Frankly, for the job they do, they should be paid nothing as that is what I believe their job results in. After all, beyond striking the odd nurse off the register, what else do they actually do? Nursing is all I have done for the last 20 years....I wanted to continue for the rest of my working life such is my love of the job. Thanks to the NMC, I am considering a new career. As for the comment above about doing something about it instead of moaning, maybe you are right. But why is the NMC going to listen to anyone, especially the nurses they govern when the only concern they have is how much money they can make for themselves....after all, they ignored the Government...twice! They have only agreed to the audit so people would think they were coming out with real facts and figures, rather than the fabricated lies they have so far spewed forth. The auditors will either agree with the NMC (and then they can say "Told you so" and hike fees more...and they will) or disagree (the NMC will say the auditors "did not understand the figures as they are not healthcare people" and just continue with whatever they like).
    Overall, the NMC have shown that they have complete contempt for all nurses in this country, the Government of this country and, due to the fact that MPs are our "representatives!, the whole population. The NMC may try and say that they act in the interest of the general public but then have turned round and stuck 2 fingers up at everybody. Pathetic, disgraceful shambles. I now genuinely fear for the NHS and the Nursing Profession (well, more than before anyway)

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  • Lets have some good civildisobedience and refuse to pay and the current NMC members will have no jobs. We can then start with a regulatory body with the confidence of the membership. MP'S ,NMC, BANKERS what next. The NMC is failing both the nursing service and Nurse education.I have tried writing to get answers but no satisfaction. Is there someone we can complain to as the profession about the NMC failures. They appear to have no accountability to anyone

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  • I would like this hike in fees to come AFTER publication of audit findings of the NMCs current financial status.

    This should be have been made mandatory - no hike without transparent accounting.

    I am tempted to pay next years registration fee NOW at current price and make the NMC wait for the extra I will have to cough up for for 18months.

    Cannot see how being 'in credit' with NMC will get me into trouble with my employer!

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  • tinkerbell

    can you claim it back on your tax, i never knew, that is 23 years in back tax i'm owed then, what do you reckon my chances are of getting it back?

    By the way how do you claim it back? Is there a form no dount?

    Is there anything else i should be claiming for like tights?:)

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  • 'nurses will pay....' says this headline.

    How very thoughtful and considerate of those involved to tell us what we are going to do.

    How about explaining to us why you think we should pay to dig you all out of your deep deep holes, how about asking us what we think, how about having the decency to apologise for your serious failings and mismanagement.

    How about explaining to us exactly what you spend our current fee on, who you expect to pay for the new 50 staff you are taking on.

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  • I'm not interested in shoring up their finances or protecting them (not the public, that is just an excuse) from prosecution by allowing a few nurses to remain on the register who should not have been on the register in the first place.

    They say they protect the public - who from, nurses that they are supposed to have screened, they are the 'regulators' - therefore they should do their job.

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  • All RNs indicating to their employers that they will not be re-registering at the next point will not work as most employers will simply move RNs to a band 2 post (wouldn't they love that!) so this would not result in change until RNs have gone through considerable financial penalites due to reduced wages.

    The way forward is through your MP. How about some Freedom of Information requests asking for details of hospitality spends for the FTP panels? How much is spent on the plush offices in London?

    Perhaps then ask how much money has been saved by moving what used to be the DHSS out of London?

    All of these things can and should be done for the benefit of the profession as a whole.

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  • Someone asked what are the unions doing,
    well they are doing their best. We nurses can only get more if we participate more when unions call for action. A good union Rep is worth their weight in gold when trouble hits you.
    Put the blame where it belongs.
    The NMC has been sitting comfortably for a long time while the rot was setting in.
    They need to get off their ivory towers and walk on the wild side, I mean nursing in England.

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  • Highway least Dick Tourpin had the decency to wear a mask.....

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  • for one I am more than happpy to pay an exorbitant amount for very helps me sleep at night knowing that the NMC fat cats are swilling down Bolly in swanky London hotels whilst they ponder the livelihood of some poor underpaid nurse...carry on Caligula I say throw another Band 5 on the fire.

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  • What a joke. I am so glad I'm out of it now. In a better job with less stress, better working conditions, better pay, and best of all I don't have to pay some incompetent muppet to be able to do it! I still have my Pin, it hasn't lapsed yet, but I will take great pleasure in writing a very strongly worded letter back when they demand the payment off me! The words your, up, stick, ******* and **** might just be used, not necessarily in that order.

    Of course this was going to happen. It was always going to happen. The 'consultation' was a farce. And once again nurses will pay up and do nothing about it.

    There is an article on NT somewhere crying about the fact nursing is facing a recruitment and retention crisis, well this will really help won't it!

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  • No pay rise for two years, NMC fees up are you sure they are not just Cameron's poodles beating up the pleb do they live with themselves....crooks...perhaps we need a NMC hearing regarding finacial malpractice and sheer wastefulness of the NMC bosses.

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  • what a surprise Did we relly think we would have won !!!!!!

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  • First and foremost the NMC need to look at some of the venues they use in which to conduct FtP hearings as a means of reducing costs.

    Example:- The International Dispute Resolution Centre, Fleet Street charges £515 per day for a room accommodating up to 15 people and then £7.95 per person for refreshments, and even more if you want a sandwich.

    Euston House on Eversholt Street charges a minimum of £37 per person +VAT depending upon the size of the room. They'll throw refreshments and materials in.
    Of course we'd best not forget the hotels they use for FtP hearings too, Holiday Inns, Stormont Hotel, Belfast all of which come at discouted rates, NOT!

    The local village hall would probably do it for £37 all in for everybody and supply a kettle, teabags and cups.

    Whilst we're on lets not forget all the properties that the NMC appear to have a connection with nationwide, Portland Place, Aldwych, Old Bailey in London, George Street in Edinburgh and so on and so forth. All have to be paid for!

    with 669,953 nurse on the register as of March 2012 all paying £100 plus the more than generous £20 Million this austere government has pushed their way the I guess almost £87 Million would be just about enough don't you!

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  • More of our money for them to waste!

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  • Sandra Thorne

    Surely instead of making nurses pay more money for increased FTW, would not it be better to increase education and regulation of nurses by monitoring training and knowledge? Then perhaps there would not be so many FTW. And as I already understand, many of these FTW are frivolous and should not be brought before the NMC but would be better suited to be dealt with on a localised level by re-training, better communication and dealing with conflict and professional development plans in the clinical areas.

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  • tinkerbell | 26-Oct-2012 11:19 am
    Unfortunately you can only claim back tax deductions/overpayments for the last 5 years (i think). The tax office can go back many more years if you owe them tax (possibly upto 40 years).
    The chances are good - although initially it can take ages. Best to avoid their long winded and confusing forms. Better to write a covering letter stating your details, NI number and employment details, submit all your P60s + P45s for the past 5 years, and let them work it out. They might ask you for more info.
    You can claim back tax deductable elements of: NMC reg fees, (certain) union membership fees, (certain) professional body membership fees), shoes, socks/tights, (washing your own uniform at hot wash, if your work doesnt do it), some professional magazine subscription fees. The tax office has a list of all eligible unions, professional organisations + magazine publications etc. Use to be called List 3.
    For subsequent years, a phone call to your tax office might suffice, to find out what else info they might need. Also to update any subscription/membership fee increases. P60s/P45s are now generated electronically, so as soon as your company make their end of year returns, your tax office will know. Also electronic files saves you having to send your originals to the tax man and saves a lot of time.
    If in doubt, ask a financial advisor.
    Sorry if you knew already.

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  • Your tax coding will change and factored into subsequent years.
    eg. If you pay for NMC fees (£76) + RCN fees (£194) and wash your uniform at home (as long as tax office agrees - approx £15) = £285. Coding should change from eg 810L to 838L. Family tax credits should also modify your coding. All of this increases your earnings before you get taxed.
    If you're also a member of a professional body (eg manager or specialist) then if its applicable, that will get added too.
    Good luck.
    I still think the NMC fee is a complete waste of money, it will cost us and all tax payers more money for poor quality service in return for patient care and does nothing for nursing or midwifery as far as I'm concerned other than a licence just to allow us to do our jobs. Maybe all of our titles be changed to Healthcare Practitioners.

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  • Who regulates the regulator? And how much do they pay in fees in order to have this done? Scrap the NMC, they're a complete waste of time. You wouldn't get doctors being treated like this.

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