Operating department practitioners and a range of other healthcare professions face having to pay higher registration fees, potentially paving the way for a similar move for nurses and midwives.
The Health and Care Professions Council, which regulates 16 professional groups, has today launched a consultation on proposals to increase its registration fees in 2015. The move potentially fires the starting gun for copycat moves by other regulators.
“We are very aware that our costs are funded entirely from the fees our registrants pay”
The council is proposing an increase in the renewal fee from £80 to £90 per year with effect from 1 August.
It said the increase has been “instigated” following the government’s decision that the Professional Standards Authority should in future be funded by the regulators’ it oversees.
“We are compelled to review our fee levels in order to be able to fund this substantial increase to our costs,” the council said.
Similar fears have been voiced that nurses and midwives may face yet another increase in registration fees as a result of the government’s decision to cease funding the Professional Standards Authority.
Nursing and Midwifery Council, itself, has warned that it may have to pass on to registrants the financial burden of having to begin funding the Professional Standards Authority.
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The Health and Care Professions Council said the remainder of its fee increase was needed to invest in IT systems, introduce dedicated quality control systems and manage fitness to practise processes.
It stated that the proposed renewal fee would still be the lowest of all the regulators overseen by the PSA and around a third less than the next highest fee.
Marc Seale, HCPC’s chief executive and registrar said: “We anticipate that the PSA funding will initially amount to approximately £1m per annum based on current registration numbers.
“We are disappointed by the decision because we believe it has a disproportionate impact on our registrants and the fees they pay,” he said.
He added: “The consultation sets out where the registrants’ fees are spent and why the increases are needed.”
The consultation will run from 27 March until 6 May 2015.
Earlier this week MPs debated the NMC’s decision last year to increase the annual registration fees for nurses and midwives from £100 to £120, including any further rise resulting from the government’s decision to pass on funding of the PSA.
The debate, tabled by Labour MP for Blaydon David Anderson, was sparked by a petition calling on the government to review the process the NMC used to decide its annual registration fee.
The petition, started by mental health nurse Stephen Iwasyk, was signed by over 113,000 people.