The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the regulatory body for nurses and midwives in the UK. It maintains the professional register and if you’re not on it, you can’t call yourself a nurse/midwife nor can you practise as a nurse/midwife in this country. To be on the register, you need to have completed an NMC-approved course in nursing and you have to pay fees of £76 a year. It investigates allegations against nurses under its “fitness to practice” process.
It’s had a somewhat “interesting” history in that it inherited a load of debt from its predecessor, the UKCC, which it cleared in 2009 (using an increase in fees to do so) but, more worryingly, it’s recently been declared dysfunctional, has been accused of having a culture of bullying and racism and of lacking a plan for its financial future. Its incompetence has led to a backlog in hearing misconduct cases.
To get itself out of the mess it created for itself, the NMC is now asking for another hike in fees, in fact a massive 60% increase to £120 per year. This at a time when healthcare staff are undergoing a 2 year pay freeze as well as experiencing the effects of the government’s austerity programme in their work places.
Understandably, nurses and midwives are angry. The proposal has attracted universal criticism from the unions, there’s a Facebook group dedicated to opposing the fees increase but most importantly (and the reason for this post), there’s a consultation on the NMC website and a petition so you can make your voice heard. You don’t have to be a nurse or a midwife to participate and in fact, the more voices from the general public the better in my opinion.
The NMC are arguing that (among other things) their fees are the lowest of nearly all the health professions. What they fail to mention is that nurses and midwives form the largest group of all the health professions so economies of scale would tend to suggest their fees should be the lowest. But even if that weren’t the case, it shouldn’t be about a race to see who can charge the most, and especially not when the proposed rise is a result of the organisation’s own inability to conduct its business properly.
That petition again, just in case you missed it, can be found here. Thanks for your indulgence