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05.02.14

NMC wants ‘shockingly unfair’ fee rise to £120 a year

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) could increase its membership fees to £120, it has announced. The current fee of £100, raised from £76 last year, will be reviewed at the March council meeting.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned that such an increase could not be justified and would hit nurses hard.

In 2012, the NMC received a £20m grant from government to help clear its historic caseload by summer 2014 and to meet its six-month adjudication KPI by the end of the year. It has already cleared the majority of that caseload and is on track to meet its targets.

But the regulator stated on its website: “The NMC’s core function is to ensure the protection of the public; without sufficient funding the NMC is unable to fulfil that regulatory commitment.”

It added: “Based on our assumptions, only a fee of £120 would enable us to continue with our current rate of activity.”

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive & general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nurses are facing huge financial pressures and any rise in NMC registration fees would hit them hard.

“Over the last few years, nurses have had to cope with a pay freeze at the same time that the cost of living has increased massively. An above-inflation increase from £100 to £120 a year would be a shockingly unfair move for the NMC to make.

“It was only last year that the NMC increased registration fees from £76 to £100 and now they want to put them up even further. Registration fees of £120 would be an increase of almost 60% over two years and we do not believe this can be justified.

“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. This would undermine nurses’ confidence in the regulator overseeing their profession.

“The NMC is a body with a guaranteed income and should not rely on a financial strategy of squeezing more money out of frontline nurses. In 2012 the RCN successfully helped to negotiate a government grant to support the NMC’s finances. If necessary, the RCN would expect the NMC to again pursue alternative funding solutions.”

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