A possible rise in Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration fees has been slammed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The NMC was given a one off grant of £20 million in 2012 to maintain the registration fee at £100 for two years while the NMC cleared its historic caseload.
With the deadline closing in, the NMC has already cleared its caseload, and is on track to meet all key performance indicators by the end of the year.
Discussions over the registration fee are due at the next NMC council meeting, but the RCN has expressed worries that registration fees will be raised.
The NMC claim that an annual fee of £120 would provide “sufficient funds” to carry out its regulatory function.
However, RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said the increase would be a “shockingly unfair move for the NMC to make”.
He said: “Over the last few years, nurses have had to cope with a pay freeze at the same time that the cost of living has increased massively.
“It was only last year that the NMC increased registration fees from £76 to £100 and now they want to put them up even further.”
Dr Carter revealed concerns that nurses could end up “bearing the burden of the NMC’s continuing financial problems”. He said the NMC should not use a strategy of “squeezing more money out of frontline nurses”.
An NMC statement said: “As the two years of additional funding provided by the government draws to a close the NMC council will be reviewing the current fee structure at their March 2014 Council meeting. This is in line with the NMC’s commitment to review fees on an annual basis.
“The NMC Council will have the final decision on whether a fee consultation needs to take place.”