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NMC Council votes to increase fees despite heavy opposition

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The NMC's Council voted to increase the regulator's annual registration fee to £120 at its meeting on 1 October.

The £20 fee increase will begin from March 2015. Prior to setting the amount, the Council discussed the idea of a smaller rise to £115 suggested by a council member, but the increase was finally set at £120.

The Council has said it will review the fee level every year. There is currently no system for paying the annual fee in installments.

The member consultation ran from 8 May 2014 until 31 July 2014.

Mark Addison, the chair of the NMC , said: 'Today, we made the difficult decision to increase the annual registration fee for nurses and midwives to £120. We have considered the responses to the consultation in detail and we have listened carefully to the issues raised. We recognise the financial pressures that many nurses and midwives are facing at a time of widespread pay restraint, and the tough and demanding jobs they do.'

Unions and organisations representing nurses and midwives expressed outrage at the decision.

Unite, which represents 25,000 nurses, community nurses and health visitors, has described the rise as a 'kick in the teeth for hard-pressed health visitors and community nurses'. Members of the union staged a protest against the fee rise outside the NMC's headquarters on the day of the meeting.

The RCM spoke on behalf of midwives on the decision. 'We strongly objected to the proposed fee rise but now that it is being implanted, we must see value for money for midwives from the NMC. Midwives are paying towards the costs of the NMC so we want to see some real and concrete midwifery visibility at the NMC, amongst staff and on the council. Two professions are paying for this and midwifery needs to be better represented if the NMC is to be truly a regulator of two professions,' said Louise Silverton, director for midwifery at the RCM.

The RCN's head of policy Howard Catton said: 'There could not be a worse time to ask nurses for more money and to do so now suggests that the NMC is hugely out of step with the realities of nurses' lives.'

Nurses and midwives used social media to protest against the decision calling the move 'disgusting' and 'a joke'.

A number of readers contacted Independent Nurse to make it clear they disagreed with the £20 fee hike.

To read more about nurses are under financial pressure, read the News Focus on nurses facing financial pressure.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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