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Planned registration fee hike angers nurses

Nurses asked to ‘bail out’ NMC, say nurse leaders

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 07 February 2014

A row is brewing over proposals to increase registration fees for nurses.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council is considering raising fees from £100 to £120 per year, marking the end of the £20 million government grant that it received in 2012.

But the Royal College of Nursing calls the proposed fee hike ‘outrageous’ and accuses the Council of expecting cash-strapped nurses to ‘bail it out’ from a position caused by ‘its lack of robust financial strategy’.

In 2012, the NMC accepted a one off grant of £20 million, which enabled the registration fee for nurses and midwives to be maintained at £100 for two years. The government’s £20 million grant was given to the NMC on the understanding that the NMC would clear its historic caseload by summer 2014 and meet its six month adjudication key performance indicator (KPI) by the end of 2014.

The NMC states that it has already cleared its historic caseload (other than a handful of cases which cannot proceed due to third party involvement) and is on track to meet the six month adjudications by the end of 2014.

“As the two years of additional funding provided by the government draws to a close the NMC council will be reviewing the current fee structure at their March 2014 Council meeting. This is in line with the NMC’s commitment to review fees on an annual basis. The NMC Council will have the final decision on whether a fee consultation needs to take place,” states the Council.

But the RCN is calling on members to petition against a planned rise, which it says will represent an increase of almost 60% in two years.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: "Frontline nurses should not bail out the NMC as a result of its lack of robust financial strategy. It is outrageous that nurses are being asked, yet again, to accept a significant increase with no consideration for the impact on hard working frontline staff.

"Nursing staff across the UK are facing huge financial pressures, with a pay freeze at the same time as a spiralling cost of living, leaving many struggling to cope. An above-inflation rise would be a shockingly unfair move for the NMC to make.

"Let’s be clear – nursing needs a strong and effective regulator, but the RCN is deeply concerned that nurses could end up bearing the burden of the NMC’s continuing financial problems, and this would undermine nurses’ confidence in the regulator overseeing their profession.”

Dr Carter called on RCN members to sign a petition in order to obtain the 100,000 signatures required for the matter to be considered for parliamentary debate.

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