The Nursing and Midwifery Council has launched a major consultation on plans for big changes to how nurses are educated and what they can be expected to do once qualified.
Proposals for the new education and assessment standards include:
- Increasing the limit on the number of practice hours using simulated situations rather than real-life patients from 300 to 1,150 out of 2,300;
- changes to the system for how students are mentored while on placement;
- adding prescribing theory to the degree programme.
You can find full details on the NMC website at nmc.org.uk/nurse2030.
The nursing and midwifery council are proposing an increase to fees which will mean a 52% increase in the next two years. UNISON consulted members and the conclusions from the paper are detailed below.
6.1 UNISON members do not support the NMC proposal to increase registration fees, from March 2015.
6.2 Across the UK UNISON members are angry that the NMC appear unable to live within their current significant income stream.
6.3 UNISON calls on the NMC to undertake a review of fitness to practice referrals which do not proceed to a full hearing and to use this data and information to work with employers and trade unions to ensure that referrals are appropriate and in the interests of patient safety and public protection. We recognise that this will not be possible for all referrals (i.e. police and patient referrals) but given that employers are the largest source of referrals UNISON would argue that this move would have a positive impact on reducing the number of cases and the overall cost of fitness to practice.
6.4 UNISON calls on the NMC to shift resources into awareness and the development of guidance to help registrants understand clearly how to act within the code of conduct in their practise. This will also reduce the number of referrals and restore public, registrant and employer confidence in the regulator, and its systems and practices.
6.5 UNISON calls on the NMC to consider a reduced fee for new registrants and part time workers to better reflect members’ income throughout their careers.
6.6 UNISON shares members’ anger that the NMC continues to seek increases in registration fees while other regulators have been able to hold their rate. We recognise that the NMC is the biggest but the HCPC regulates a wider range of professions but still manages to maintain registration fees at a consistent rate.
6.7 UNISON fears that this increase could have a catastrophic impact on nurses and midwives future decisions and have a direct result on workforce planning and possibly patient care.
6.8 We call on the NMC to halt this process, to maintain fees at their current rate and if necessary reduce the number of fitness to practice hearings which take place on a daily basis. This saving would avoid the need for council to increase registration fees; we acknowledge that council will argue that they cannot do this as it will impact on their statutory function of public protection. However, UNISON members believe that registrants should not carry the full burden of the costs. As less than 1% of registrants fitness to practice is called into question why should 99% of registrants suffer ever increasing registration fees.