Much of the content on our site is available to our registered users only. If you're already registered, just click the 'Log in' button then enter your email address and password.
If you're not already registered on the site, you'll need to do so in order to gain unrestricted access to all our content. There are two types of registration:
1. If you're a current subscriber, you can register for access to our protected content at no additional cost. You'll need your subscription number in order to complete your registration, which is on the polythene wrapper in which your journal is delivered. Click the Register button to begin your registration.
2. If you don't currently subscribe you can do so now by taking out a secure online subscription. Not only will this give you instant access to our protected online content, but you'll also get every issue of Nursing Standard - the UK's best selling nursing journal - delivered straight to your door. Click the Register button to begin your subscription and registration.
Well done Andrew Lansley. Now there's a sentence you don't get to say very often. But the health secretary's intervention in the sorry saga of the Nursing and Midwifery Council's (NMC) bungling attempts to balance its books by picking nurses' pockets is welcome. Particularly welcome is his statement that 'a fee increase for registrants is difficult to justify at a time of pay restraint'. It certainly is, especially an increase of nearly 60 per cent.
Mr Lansley, responding to union pressure, is urging the NMC to take its case for a fee rise to external audit. He has written to the council arguing that such a move is needed to ensure the NMC's plans are 'robust and future proof'.
The health secretary's letter is the second intervention in the space of a month from a government that is clearly becoming increasingly frustrated at the NMC's inability to get its house in order. And aren't we all?
The imposition of career civil servant Mark Addison as chair was a sign that the government is losing patience with the regulator. However galling it was for the current regime, who were midway through their own selection process, at least it means someone with a track record of improving the performance of public bodies will be at the helm by the end of September.
Mr Addison is not a nurse, so you would hope that when a new chief executive is recruited that he or she will be. The two people in these top jobs need to have skills that complement each other. They hold the fate of the NMC in their hands and they need to turn around this failing organisation.
What the NMC spends its money on needs to be examined and the things that it does not need to be doing should be scrapped, for example professional development work that is provided adequately by other organisations.
The Lansley letter talks about the need to ensure past mistakes are 'understood and not repeated'. It is a cleverly worded missive and, as you would expect from a politician, it allows plenty of scope for the powers that be to get their way. But the fact is the health secretary has injected a sense of urgency into the process and he has made it just that bit more difficult for the NMC to drive through this unjust fee rise.
Editorial | August 8 2012 | Vol 26 week 49
Nursing Standard is published every Wednesday by RCN Publishing Company Ltd, the publishing company of the Royal College of Nursing.
It seeks to promote professional excellence, and encourage creativity and innovation in nursing, midwifery and health visiting practice. Nursing Standard also aims to enhance nurses' and healthcare assistants' career development and to help them achieve and maintain a healthy and rewarding working environment. Nursing Standard is editorially independent and the opinions expressed are not those of the RCN or of the contributor's employing organisation unless specifically stated.