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Union members reject NMC fee hike and back alternative funding models


An overwhelming majority of nurse union members have registered their opposition to the fee hike proposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Almost all respondents to surveys by Unison (98%), Unite (98%) and the Royal College of Nursing (99.3%) said they opposed the plans to increase the NMC registration fee.

The surveys were carried out to inform the unions’ formal response to the NMC’s consultation on the fee increase plans (see links on the right), which would see it rise in January from £76 to £120.

The polls also explored views on other funding methods for professional regulation, asking nurses whether or not they thought the government should contribute to the running of the NMC.

Around 87% of the RCN’s 85,000 survey respondents said the government should contribute.

More than 80% of RCN members also said they did not think the nursing regulator should still be expected to pay over £800,000 towards the running of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, the body which oversees the NMC.

Similarly, more than half of Unison respondents also backed the view that it was the duty of the government to step in and bail the NMC out.

In addition, only 45% of Unison respondents said they had any confidence left in the NMC and only 55% said they supported nurses and midwives having their own regulator.

Unison members also supported a proportionate level of registration fee based on earnings, and said they believed a fixed-rate irrespective of earnings disproportionately impacted on graduates and part-time workers.

Meanwhile, Unite said the fee should not be increased above £86-a-year in January, and any future rises should be in line with inflation.

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: “Registrants do not want to take the hit for the financial mismanagement that has taken place at the NMC.

“A fee increase of almost 60% is disproportionate, and unfairly places responsibility for the financial woes of the organisation on the blameless registrants.”

She added: “Public protection is everyone’s business, and the government would do well to recognise their role in ensuring the public’s safety, step in and bail the NMC out.”

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Nurses are already in the midst of a two year pay freeze and face increased pension contributions and a rising cost of living. They shouldn’t have to pay almost 60% more just to maintain their livelihood.

“Our members have also been clear in their concerns about the NMC’s position more generally, and will need some assurance that their registration fees are going into a well-run, robust regulator and not disappearing into an abyss.”

Unite professional officer Dave Munday added: “Our members have overwhelmingly rejected the enormous fee hike – which is, basically, ‘a tax on nurses’ who have already suffered from two years of government-imposed pay freeze.

“To regain its credibility, the NMC needs to be more realistic in its financial demands – and we think increases in line with inflation, which is currently running at 2.6%, would be more realistic in future years.”


Readers' comments (13)

  • I think most reasonable people accept that the NMC is time-expired and has been for quite sometime. I'm sure that it is the Governments position that the NMC should be wound-up and merged into some kind of PAM organisation; that way we can have proper regulation for nurses, care assistants and everyone else employed in care. Proper regulation and real patient safety.

    I've struggled for sometime to work out just what the NMC spends the money it receives on. Apparently its not rent as they only pay £1 a year or something of that order.

    That new code of conduct it was trumpeting a few years back was a 'cut and paste' job from the American 'Code of Ethics for Nurses' almost word for word!

    The NMC has had it: close it down, write-off its debts and give nurses and others a robust body that is truly our 'sword and shield' rather than the joke we have now. Then feel free to ask for more money!

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  • I absolutely agree with your comments. I was talking to a Teacher at the weekend who told me that they got thier so called Professional Council shut down as it was a pointless waste of time and just took hard earned money off Teachers with nothing in return.
    The fact that the NMC has a back log of 4,000 fitness to practice cases proves that the NMC is unfit for practice. The sooner we stand up and get rid of this ineffective council and form a robust body for nurses the better I say. I begrduge every penny I pay to this outfit.

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  • I totally agree that the NMC has had it's day! Nurses are paying far to much money for this. What are we getting for our money? The £10 per year fee was acceptable. We need a better governing body to support us. On no account should we we paying any more than £76 a year infact we should be paying less!

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  • There is already a Health Professions Council that governs other HCPs why not have them as our registering body?

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  • Professor Tony Hazell, the Chair of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
    said in an interview on the 2nd June 2011:
    The nature of this organisation, the NMC is, we are an independent regulator.

    We have one objective and one objective only, and that is the protection of the public and patients.

    So we’re not the professional body, we don’t represent nurses or midwives.

    and that is why they have not served Nurses at all well.

    As Anon 26/8/12 2:54 said, we expect them to be truly our 'sword and shield.' The NMC clearly have no intention of fulfilling this role. and yet think they can bleed us for more and more money.

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  • Penny Nibbs | 28-Aug-2012 2:06 pm

    this is news to me. surely any profession has to have a professional body to represent them.

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  • King Vulture

    Penny Nibbs | 28-Aug-2012 2:06 pm

    Anonymous | 28-Aug-2012 2:22 pm

    'this is news to me. surely any profession has to have a professional body to represent them.'

    The NMC is a regulator (like the GMC) - most professional bodies have got 'Royal' in their title, so that looks like the RCN: awkwardly, the RCN is also a union (note that the BMA is a union, but lacks 'Royal').

    Regulators protect the public, not the professions they are there to regulate.

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  • I agree that we need to be regulated, but surely as professionals we are able to regulate ourselves or at least have a professional body that protects the public aswell as its professions, the NMC has failed on all counts for the past few years, surely the government can see this and will step in. I for one would vote every time to abolish the NMC, I dont feel that I should give my hard earned (very hard earned) wages to some incompetent organisation who quite obviously couldn't organize a booze up in a brewery. If I was to fail at my job as they have done I would be fired and rightly so. It's the same old cliche though isn't it, too many chiefs as they say, lets hope the unions fight our cause and not sail us down the river like every other change.

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  • I totally agree with the comments.what is this hiked up fee paying for,as a Nurse Practitioner I am still waiting recognition for my role on the NMC register after 6 years.They have failed to get their act together to recognise the degree course and qualification of a Nurse Practitioner !!.They call themselves a regulatory body!!
    This has been a farce expecting to increase the cost,we used to pay a fee every 3 years then it became yearly and the cost rose further now this ridiculous rise they are trying to enforce.As the comments suggest they sit in their 'ivory tower' giving jobs for the boys yet doing nothing for the hard working nurses yet they expect to bleed us dry from our hard earned salary so we can follow a vocation!!

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  • Thank you everyone and l agree with every thing that you have all said.

    The nmc claim they are for the public, then the goverment should be the one paying them and not nurses.

    There should be a prober regulatory body for the nurses and for only anual fee of £10 . We have the two uniuon we are paying to . If a body is not there to serve the nurses and represent us , then they do not deserve our fee.

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