The government has offered the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) a one-off £20m grant to “protect” nurses and midwives from having to foot the entire bill of the regulator’s proposed 60% fee hike.
It is hoped the grant will provide the extra financial support required for the NMC to “properly tackle” its backlog of fitness to practise cases and improve the regulator’s performance overall.
Annual NMC registration currently costs every nurse and midwife £76 per year. A recent consultation by the regulator led to a proposal of an increase in the fee to £120.
"I am pleased to be able to offer £20m of support to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, because the NMC is an important body with an important role to play in protecting patients,” said Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter.
"Following a period when we have heard of so many terrible abuses in the care of older people and vulnerable patients, it is important that organisations like the NMC are in the right shape to properly perform their job of protecting patients.
"I am also mindful that in these times of pay restraint, it is not right that hard working nurses and midwives are burdened with the full financial cost of improving the NMC’s fitness to practise function.
"We want to support the council and its new leadership in getting back on its feet financially and operationally, and I hope that it will accept our offer."
In response to the grant proposal, a spokesperson from the NMC said it “welcomed” the government’s offer in giving the regulator “further options” to contribute to the costs of regulating nurses and midwives.
They confirmed the offer will be discussed at the NMC’s next council meeting, scheduled for 25 October.
Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing Dr Peter Carter, urged the NMC to accept the government’s offer “as soon as possible”.
It is solely the decision of the NMC as to whether or not it accepts the government’s offer.