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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)

  • for one I am more than happpy to pay an exorbitant amount for very little...it 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 masses....how 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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