Health Secretary: NMC fee ‘difficult to justify’
Published: 06 August 2012
The Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley MP, has written to the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) expressing strong reservations over the regulator’s proposal to raise the annual registration fee for nurses and midwives to £120, an increase of nearly 60 per cent.
The NMC published a consultation on the proposed increase in June and the RCN was quick to condemn the plans. Now, in a letter to NMC Deputy Chair Professor Judith Ellis, Mr Lansley says the proposed fee increase is “difficult to justify”.
“If, following consultation, the NMC decides to press ahead with a fee increase, it must be able to assure itself and, most importantly, its registrants and the wider public that such a decision is made on a sound financial basis,” Mr Lansley writes.
He calls for an external audit of the NMC’s business case for a rise and suggests the regulator should review previous financial planning to ensure that previous mistakes are “understood and not repeated”.
He adds: “I believe it is vital that the NMC seek independent verification of its case for a fees rise, taking into account the lessons learned from the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence strategic review about previous failings in financial management.”
In a joint statement, the RCN, the Royal College of Midwives and Unison said: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State agrees with us that it is difficult to justify a fee increase for registrants, and has intervened in this way. As the unions representing nurses and midwives we welcome the request from the Government for the NMC to commission an independent audit of its case for a fee rise.
"We hope to see the terms of reference for the audit as soon as possible, and that those terms will be wide-ranging enough to deliver the change which is needed if the NMC is to be financially sustainable. It is also only right that the deadline for submissions to the NMC’s current consultation should be extended so that the results of this audit can be taken into account.”