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Anger from nurses as NMC votes itself a raise

Council should reduce registration fees not increase its members’ allowances, say unions

Council should reduce registration fees not increase its members’ allowances, say unions.

Janet_Finch
NMC chair Dame Janet Finch

Excess Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) funds should go on reducing registration fees not pay rises, heath union Unison has said.

As previously reported, the NMC voted through a pay rise for its chair Dame Janet Finch and council members during last month’s meeting. 

Professor Finch’s working hours for the NMC have increased from two days to two and a half, and her pay will be backdated to April 2017. Her pay will rise from £48,048 to £63,050, which amounts to a rise of around £3,000 after this increase in hours is taken into account. 

This pay rise is intended to align the allowance more closely with the pay of other health regulatory chairs.

Members also voted themselves a pay rise of around £1,500, following a recommendation by an independent pay panel.

Professor Finch said: ‘In this situation, anyone can recognise it is uncomfortable for a body to decide their own allowances. We have done all we could possibly think of to remove any suggestion that we are advantaging ourselves.’

However, the decisions have drawn criticism from the health trade union Unison and Nursing Standard readers.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘Over the last few years, nurses and midwives have had to shell out more and more money to be on the nursing register, with a 32% fee increase in 2012 and another 20% rise in 2014.

Pro-rata fees

‘If there is cash to spend, the NMC should be reducing fees and offering nurses ways to spread the cost of registration by offering monthly payment plans and pro-rata fees for those who work part-time.’

Nursing Standard readers reacted angrily to news of the pay rises, with many pointing out that it comes at a time when nurses have experienced seven years of pay restraint.

A RCN spokesperson said: ‘There is a need for a transparent remuneration process that is fair for employees and council members, but also demonstrates value for money.’

An NMC spokesperson said: 'An independent panel recommended an increase in the allowance for council members and the chair to bring them more in line with allowances paid at other healthcare regulators.

'Until 2016, there had been no increase in the allowance paid to council members since 2009, while the chair had not received any increase at all during this period. Council agreed that allowances should not now be reviewed for at least three years.

'The fee for nurses and midwives will continue to be reviewed and set by Council on an annual basis.'


Clarification

An earlier version of this story stated that Professor Finch would receive a pay rise of £15,000. We wish to clarify that this amount reflects an additional half day of work per week for the NMC, meaning her actual pay rise is around £3,000 per year.


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