Looks like a growing push-back against the near 40% rise in registration fees for Australian nurses.

Recently the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) announced a rise in registration fees  by $45.00 (from $115.00 to $160.00). This in order to enable it to provide “a robust regulatory framework that protects the public”.

The NMBA website states that they have 332,185 nurses registered with them.

So doing some very rough maths, that extra $45 from each of us will give them an extra $14,948,325.00 this year.
And a total registration fee revenue of: fifty three million, one hundred and forty-nine thousand, six hundred dollars.

The ACT branch of the Australian Nurses Federation has sent out an email to its members urging them to voice their displeasure at this hike in fees.

The ACT ANF has advised both the NMBA and the ACT Minister for Health that we are opposed to this increase in registration fees.

Whilst we continue to support self-regulation (which means being self-funded) and we continue to oppose any cross subsidisation between professions, we do not believe this increase is justifiable. We believe that any increase should not exceed the growth in Consumer Price Index (CPI) or wages growth.

One of the alleged benefits of moving to National Registration was the increased efficiencies and economies of scale that could be achieved by a national model. We have seen no evidence of such economies or efficiencies being implemented by the NMBA or their secretariat, the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

We encourage all members to send your message of opposition to the NMBA and the Minister for Health.

I am not sure if the ANF is advocating that we withhold paying our registration fees…..and I would advise at this stage if you are about to renew your registration, you proceed.
But remember, they are not due until May 31st.

Plenty of time to voice your thoughts.

The NMBA can be contacted via:

  • Online: www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au – click onto ‘Contact Us’ to lodge an online enquiry form
  • Telephone: 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 8708 9001 (overseas callers)
  • Mail: Ms Anne Copeland, Chair, Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne Vic 3001

 

 

                                            

 

5 Responses to “Nurses registration fee pushback.”

  1. In addition to my previous comments – please see this from UK Nursing Time re registration fees, they are proposing a hike of 60% across the board for all nurses, irrespective of grade and pay scale. But apparently midwives should be seperate (please see last line) not sure of rationale for that

    “The Nursing and Midwifery Council has proposed increasing the annual registrants’ fee to £120 from the start of next year.

    This would mean an increase of £44 on the current fee of £76, which has not risen since 2007.

    The NMC council approved the proposed increase at its monthly meeting this morning, together with increases in line with inflation in future years.

    The nursing regulator says the big increase is needed to finance the level of activity required to deliver its core fitness to practise functions.

    Interim chief executive Jackie Smith told the council that the current fees generated around £51m a year of the regulator’s total income of £52m.

    However, she warned that the NMC would need £73m this year to maintain the present level of FtP activity and that the regulator was “eating into” its financial reserves.

    “What we’ve seen is an unprecedented increase in FtP activity,” she said.

    The regulator current has a caseload of 4,461, up from 4,342 in March. It has also seen a 52% increase in referrals over the past two years while it continues to struggle with clearing a backlog of historic cases.

    Without a fee rise, Ms Smith said the NMC would have to “immediately cut back its FtP activity”. The number of hearings would have to be reduced from 15 hearings per day to eight, which would result in 460 fewer a year. Ms Smith said this was not an option.

    NMC interim chair Judith Ellis warned that the regulator’s financial position was “fundamentally unsustainable” without the fee increase. She added: “We have to be able to protect the public.”

    The NMC said it planned to begin a consultation on the proposed fee increase next month.

    Council was told that the regulator had discussed the move with health minister Anne Milton last Thursday. The Department of Health “know the facts of it,” said Professor Ellis.

    Council member Ruth Sawtell said: “This is such a desperately worrying situation.”

    “We are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

    The regulator had discussed three fee level options: an increase of £100, and increase of £120 or an increase of £140.

    The council notes said the lowest increase would “not sustain the FtP activity which is currently foreseen”, and was not discussed by members.

    The £120 figure, which was recommended to the council and approved, would enable the NMC to deliver FtP and other regulatory activity at “safe levels”, the papers said.

    Council member David Pyle also suggested that the fee increase in line with inflation in future years, to avoid a similar situation occurring again. This was also approved by council to be taken forward to the consultation.

    Some council members favoured a fee rise of £140, which the papers said would “future proof” the regulator against unexpected hikes in referrals.

    The NMC is predicting a further increase in activity following the publication of the Francis report into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust, which is due in the autumn.

    Council member Grahame Owen said: “It is important to ask how much ‘headroom’ have we got with £120? It’s limited.”

    But fellow member Carole Rees-Williams noted that any fee rise “might be difficult” for “nurses at the coalface” in the current economic climate.

    Unison has told Nursing Times that it would be opposing any increase in the registration fee.

    The union’s head of nursing, Gail Adams, said: “Hard pressed nurses and midwifes will rightly be very angry about plans to make them pay more to work.

    “Many of these vital health workers and their families are already struggling to make ends meet. Not only have they had their pay frozen for two years, with two more years of pay austerity on the horizon, they are also having to pay more for their pensions.”

    Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “This is a staggering proposal at a time when nurses are under huge financial pressure.

    “Indeed, it is deeply unfair that the NMC would propose a near 60% hike in fees when nurses are in the middle of a two year pay freeze and facing increased pensions contributions. We know that the NMC is facing financial challenges, but nurses should not be picking up the tab.”

    Both unions said they would be seeking an urgent meeting with the NMC on the issue.

    Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, added: “I understand that high quality regulation of midwives and nurses comes at a price. However, the focus should not be on a fee rise but on the Government supporting the NMC to get its house in order, and to support it in dealing with the challenge of its fitness to practice caseload.

    “Midwives should not face an increase and be the ones to pay the price for the current difficulties facing the NMC.”

  2. I know its a lot more than that to register in the UK, with a proposed hike in annual charges that is attracting a lot of opposition over here (very similar to the situation in Oz) . Our governing body (the NMC) are primarily there to protect the needs of those in our care apparently, and the increase in registration fee is called for because of the amount of work they are having to do to ensure this. The NMC is widely criticised for being on “disarray”, so there is a lot of wondering about where the money will go. You are not alone….

  3. It costs 65 Pounds to register in the UK approximately = to $101, so try and tell me we are not being fleeced here in Australia, yet another revenue gathering con.

  4. I though that having a national register would decrease our practicing fee, not increase it. It’s time that NMBA becomes more transparent and show where our practicing fees go to eg increase their staffs wages? I call on the ANF of each state to ask the question of how do our practicing fees benefit the nursing profession

  5. I registered for the first time this year, having completed my nursing studies at the end of 2011. I (and all other new grads) had to pay a full year’s registration fee in January 2012, even though my registration was only valid until 31 May 2012.
    I complained about this in writing to NMBA and didn’t even get the respect of an automated reply. How on earth can that be justified? That the fee is increasing so substantially is a complete rort in my eyes.
    At the very least, the ANF should be demanding full disclosure of what this vast amount of money is being spent on. Wow, only 3 months in and I’m already completely cynical. :)

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