NMC to begin consultation on nursing associate fees
Regulator says nursing associates will be subject to the same processes as nurses and midwives, so proposes they pay the same £120 yearly fee to register
A public consultation is being launched on whether nursing associates should pay the same fee as nurses and midwives to join the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register.
At a meeting on 29 November, the NMC put forward a recommendation that the £120 yearly fee should also apply to nursing associates.
The NMC will regulate the new role, which is intended to be a bridge between the roles of unregistered healthcare assistants and registered nurses.
Band 4 starting salary
There are 2,000 people training to be nursing associates at pilot sites across England, with the first 1,000-strong cohort due to apply to join the register from January 2019.
Trainees enrolled on the two-year nursing associate programme are paid a band 3 salary and will move up to band 4 on qualifying. This compares to a band 5 starting salary for newly qualified nurses.
Papers presented at the NMC council meeting stated: ‘Nursing associates will be subject to the same model of regulation and the same regulatory processes (eg fitness to practise) as nurses. Therefore, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we have no basis on which to assume the costs of regulating (them) will be markedly different.’
Risk of subsidising
The papers add: ‘If we set the fee at a lower level, there is a risk that nurses and midwives would subsidise the regulation of nursing associates.’
At present, the new role applies only in England, but the consultation will raise the possibility of people applying to become nursing associates having trained elsewhere in the UK or in the European Union (EU).
The NMC recommends that such applicants pay an additional fee to have their qualifications evaluated, with the level mirroring that currently paid by nurses and midwives who trained in EU and non-EU countries.
NMC council chair Dame Janet Finch told the meeting: ‘We will be using this [consultation] as a serious opportunity to listen to what our constituents think and make changes if there is a clear view on any of the points.’
The consultation begins on 4 December and will run until 26 February, with a final decision expected in September next year.
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