The NMC has announced its intention to increase its registration fee by almost 60 per cent from £76 to £120.
The regulator is consulting on an increase in the annual charge, claiming it needs to boost income to cover costs incurred by a 48 per cent increase in referrals against nurses and midwives since 2010.
Professor Judith Ellis, interim chair of the NMC, said she recognised it was 'a very difficult time' to ask nurses and midwives to pay more for registration, but added: 'It is clear that the rising costs of delivering fitness to practise have now outstripped the income that the £76 fee provides.'
Health union Unison said serious questions needed to be asked about the NMC's financial management, particularly since a previous fee hike, in 2007, was intended to allow the body to accrue a cash reserve.
Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: 'Hard-pressed nurses and midwives will rightly be very angry about plans to make them pay more to work. Many of these vital health workers and their families are already struggling to make ends meet.'
The 12-week consultation will be accessible via the NMC's website 'before the end of June'.