Thank you for describing your function so very clearly, it is a comfort to nurses to know what their registration fees are paying for, rather like a supermarket shopper examining the contents of a packet to ensure they are not eating horse meat.
THE NMC IS THE INDEPENDENT REGULATOR FOR NURSES AND MIDWIVES IN THE UK. OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE IS TO PROTECT PATIENTS AND THE PUBLIC THROUGH EFFECTIVE AND PROPORTIONATE REGULATION OF NURSES & MIDWIVES. WE SET AND PROMOTE STANDARDS OF EDUCATION AND PRACTICE, MAINTAIN A REGISTER OF THOSE WHO MEET THESE STANDARDS, AND TAKE ACTION WHEN A NURSE’S OR MIDWIFE’S FITNESS TO PRACTISE IS CALLED INTO QUESTION.
It is also helpful for nurses to know that registrations fees support 5 areas of NMC acivity:
1. Advancement of Health or Saving of Lives
3. General Public/Mankind
4. Other Charitable Activities
5. Provides Advocacy/Advice/Information
Several questions arise from your published accounts:
Income and Spending
31 Mar 2014 £65.19m £70.59m
31 Mar 2013 £73.36m £63.27m – Employees 441
31 Mar 2012 £52.78m £61.19m
31 Mar 2011 £52.47m £44.72m
31 Mar 2010 £51.71m £36.74m
The 2013 accounts include a government grant of £20 million: ‘The Government expects that this grant will provide the extra financial support required for the NMC to properly tackle a backlog of fitness to practise cases, as well as to allow it to reduce the effect of a fee rise for hard-working nurses and midwives’ (www.gov.uk/government, October 15, 2012).
These questions are:
1. How many staff did you employ as of 31 March 2015? Has this number increased from its 2013 level?
2. How many of these staff are directly involved in the operation of fitness to practise cases?
3. How many staff are currently employed in each specific area of your activity? Or do staff multi-task, and combine different roles?
4. Under your Education/Training remit, do you have specific links with any UK university or business school?
5. Will you define ‘Other Charitable Activities’, and provide full details?
6. What was your total wage bill for the year ending 31 March 2015?
7. What was the total amount of ‘out of pocket’ expenses for council members in the year ending 31 March 2015?, i.e. monies spent on hotel bills, etc.
8. Are fitness to practise cases being more speedily dealt with, or is the NMC finding it difficult to keep up with the number of cases referred by employers?, i.e those who you wish to give the power of nurse revalidation to, who, of course, do not refer ‘manufactured’ cases to you because they want to get rid of a ‘troublemaker’, perhaps someone with standards that are not compatible with their business objectives.
9. Concerning linking employment appraisal and revalidation, did you consider Lenin Nightingale’s alternative suggestion of annual update courses at local education establishments?, which was sent to you via Twitter. Lenin did not receive a reply, and, to be frank, considered this rude, and not befitting an organisation involved in setting standards.
9. Have you recovered from your trading loss of 2014? Are you in surplus again? If not, and most nurses would not welcome another hike in registration fees, have you considered reducing your number of staff? As you know, these are times of austerity, so we are repeatedly told, and those with spare rooms are being subject to a ‘bedroom tax’. Is it not time the NMC ‘downsized’? Perhaps you could relocate away from the bright and expensive lights of london. May I make a suggestion of somewhere more central?, which would certainly cut costs? Grimsby. Since its fishing industry has collapsed, there are plenty of very large buildings available in the old dock areas, and you wouldn’t have to pay your staff as much, for there are plenty of cut-price ex-council houses for sale, and staff could shop at the local £1 shops. Those involved in fitness to practise hearings could stay in local hostels, alongside homeless families. This would save so much money, and would stop anyone being a fitness to practise panel member for the wrong reasons – £260 a day expenses. This amount would not be needed in Gimsby, for Lenin is reliably informed that sausage, chips, and gravy can be bought for £3, less if you ask for a childs’ portion.
10. Do you think you are fit to practise? Lenin does not intend this to be a cruel question, he only asks it in the same vein as an old nursing sister asked of him, peering over her spectacles: “Do you think you possess the necessary attributes to be a nurse?” She only intended to be kind, and point Lenin toward another career.
On behalf of many nurses, a reply would be most welcome.
Yours in expectation,
lenin nightingale 2015