Saturday, 15 January 2011

Effing Fees

I had a bit of a grumble on twitter yesterday as I had received my letter from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) asking for my annual fee of £76 to remain on the live register of nurses. I got lots of interesting discussion from some people on twitter about professional fees.

I understand the definite need professional regulation, it is in the interests of the public and offers protection and a framework in which to work. But there are a couple of things that really annoy me about professional fees…

I know the cost of everything has gone up, but fees have done so ridiculously. My initial registration was about £75 for the first 3 years (I think), but during that time the NMC made it an annual fee which has over the last 7 years that I have been qualified it has crept up to that amount every year. Surely the NMC costs haven’t risen that much?

The point I really want to discuss is, should we pay annual professional fees? Should any professionals? I know many professions do, doctors, vets, teachers, solicitors, I’m sure there are many more. It is not the regulation I object to, but I do think that those people on a fixed salary which is decided by the government (and it not particularly great) shouldn’t have to pay a fee to continue to do the job they do for the public sector.

The private sector is a different matter. Of course it is only my opinion, but in the private sector where salaries can be much better and the goals are more related to profit, then they should pay fees for the protection of government run bodies to regulate their work. There is a point in the public sector where I think this principle applies, the point at which they are not stuck on a national pay scale. For example if a GP is a partner in a practice, or a vet owns their own, they have the potential to make/invest money, the point at which their role becomes potentially more driven by money they should pay for the protection of such organisations.

I don’t think it is about the actual money, or the amount, but rather the principle of it. You don’t have to pay a fee every year to carry on doing your job in a supermarket or an office, why should you to look after/help/teach the public? Why doesn’t the government pay it for us? Why don’t we charge those who make a profit out of the public needs more to cover the cost of this?

It makes sense to me anyway. Thoughts anyone?