Health unions have strongly criticised plans by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to increase the annual registration fee for nurses and midwives by 58 per cent.
The NMC, which regulates the UK’s 670,000 nurses and midwives, has launched a 12-week consultation on a proposal to raise its registration fee from £76 to £120. The rise is the only way it can afford to keep up with the rising numbers of fitness-to-practise referrals, it says.
But the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Unison and Unite said the proposed increase is excessive and unacceptable.
In a statement, the unions said: “We believe it is inappropriate to seek such an increase when nurses and midwives are already seeing multiple assaults on their pay packets.
“They are two years into a pay freeze, are experiencing significant increases in their pension payments for what will be smaller pensions and the cost of living is increasing. This is an initiative that is both badly timed and poorly thought through.”
The NMC said it was independent of government and substantially funded by registration fees. Its current £76 fee, unchanged since 2007, generates annual income of around £53m.
It has experienced a 48 per cent increase in fitness-to-practise referrals against nurses and midwives since 2009-10. Interim chair Judith Ellis said: “Our current fixed annual income of £53m simply cannot keep pace with the additional fitness-to-practise activity that is now needed to manage the increase in referrals that we have seen in recent years.”