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NMC fee to rise to £100 in February

  • 67 Comments

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.

  • 67 Comments

Readers' comments (67)

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

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