NMC freezes registration fee despite loss to finances and fall in registrants

Nursing and Midwifery Council approved the fee freeze when deciding on its budget for the coming financial year

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved the fee freeze when deciding on its budget for the coming financial year

  • NMC expects to make £83.7 million of income and £78.3 million in expenditure
  • Registrations have fallen in recent years and decline is expected to continue
  • In 2017-2018, the regulator derived 97% of total income from registration fees
The Nursing and Midwifery Council registration fee has stayed the same since February 2015.
Picture: iStock

The professional regulator for nurses and midwives has revealed it expects to lose £1.4 million – the equivalent of 116,666 registrants – this year due to shrinking numbers on its register.

Yet despite admitting the continued decline in the size of the register is ‘our greatest risk’, the NMC has confirmed it is freezing the annual renewal fee at £120.

The current fee has been in place since February 2015 and in 2017-2018 the regulator derived 97% of its total income from this source.

Current trend will continue

In papers released before a meeting of its council on 28 March the NMC wrote: ‘While we do not expect register numbers to fall dramatically in coming years, we do expect this current trend will continue.

‘We have, therefore, assumed a decline of income of £1.4 million between the current financial year and 2018–2019 for an expected further reduction in the register and overseas income.

‘We are undertaking further modelling to determine the risk level in future years.’

The council approved the fee freeze alongside the NMC budget for the coming financial year, revealing it expects to make £83.7 million of income and £78.3 million in expenditure.

Fitness to practise process

The largest single amount, as always, will be spent on the fitness to practise (FtP) process which for the coming year is predicted to total £37.9 million.

Efficiency savings have also been built into its budget.

For 2018-19 these include:

  • £3.5 million from FtP, including savings made via Section 60 changes allowing cases to be concluded at an earlier stage and avoiding full hearings where possible.
  • £800,000 from the implementation of digital audio recording in FtP hearing.
  • £200,000 reduction in registration and revalidation staffing.
  • £800,000 savings in estate costs by 'smart working' including hot-desking.

A contingency fund of £2.3 million (about 2.5% of its budget) will also be set aside, which the NMC papers say ‘reflects the uncertain external environment which may, for example, impact on income, on the need to act to address specific issues unknown at this point, and on the volume of FtP referrals’.

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