38,000-strong protest petition at 'extortionate' fee hike by Health & Care Professions Council to be handed in

A 38,000-signature petition protesting at the proposed 18 per cent fee hike for registration to the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) will be handed into the council’s chief executive on Monday 11 February.

The petition, organised by Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, calling for the planned increase to be scrapped will be handed over to HCPC chief executive Marc Seale at the HCPC headquarters in London.

Unite has argued 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: “The majority of the 38,000 who have signed this petition are health professionals. It is a resounding testament to the outrage those professionals feel at this extortionate fee hike.

“Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, is calling for the HCPC to reconsider this unjust 18 per cent rise as this will cause increased financial hardship to already struggling and dedicated professionals.

“When we hand in the petition to HCPC chief executive Marc Seale on Monday we hope this will drive home the depth of anger that is felt by the professions covered by HCPC. The increase should be scrapped.

“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.”