HC Deb 26 February 2003 vol 400 c627W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the likely effect on numbers of medical students of the proposed increase in tuition fees; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of medical students. [98072]

Mr. Hutton

[holding answer 24 February 2003]: Whilst the proposals contained in the Department for Education and Skills' White Paper include allowing universities to increase tuition fees, there is as yet no clear indication from the higher education sector of the scope or scale of any increased charges. The Department of Health will ensure that any increase in the cost of university courses will not have any adverse impact on the supply of students for health training programmes, including medicine.

We are already making a significant investment in extra places at existing medical schools and in establishing new medical schools. By autumn 2003, United Kingdom medical school intakes are planned to total over 7,050, the highest figure ever. The number of UK applicants to study medicine is at the highest level since 1986, which is the earliest year we have figures for.