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.

Without a fee rise, she said the NMC would have to “scale back” its activity, which she said was not an option.

“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.  

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 hold a consultation on the proposed fee increase next month.