The proposed 18 per cent fee hike for registration to the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) has got ‘a resounding thumbs down’ from Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union.

Unite argues that the increase proposed from October 2019 is another financial blow to hard-pressed NHS staff, such as biomedical scientists paramedics and speech and language therapists, who have seen the fees increase by 40 per cent since 2014.

In its response to the HCPC’s consultation, Unite called on the organisation to ‘seriously reconsider’ the proposed rise from £90 to £106 a year, as NHS pay has stagnated in real terms and the cost of living has raced ahead.

Unite lead professional officer for regulation Jane Beach said: “We have consulted widely with our members who have to register with the HCPC in order that they can work professionally – and they have given the proposed increase a resounding thumbs down.

“We urge the HCPC to reconsider this unjust 18 per cent rise as this will cause increased financial hardship to already struggling and dedicated professionals.”

Unite’s consultation said: “The NHS is currently under enormous pressure and staff shortages are becoming increasingly apparent throughout the health professions, so anything that could act as a disincentive for those wanting to join or remain in the service and those wishing to re-join on a part-time basis must be avoided.”

Unite also fears that HCPC registrants will be picking up the tab for social workers moving to the new regulator, Social Work England.

The consultation adds: “We are concerned that moves to increase the registration fee are a direct response to the HCPC’s predicted loss of income when social workers in England transfer to the new regulator in 2019.

“As social workers account for 59 per cent of all fitness to practise cases the HCPC deals with – the HCPC’s single largest area of expenditure, when they leave the register in 2019, we would expect the HCPC’s costs to significantly decrease.”

Unite has launched a petition so that members can register their opposition to the fee hike.

It can be accessed via: http://bit.ly/2zMwsi0

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065

Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.