§ Mr. Burstow
To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether it is his Department's policy to pay for the top-up university fees charged to student nurses; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Hutton
[holding answer 3 December 2003]: Existing contracts between strategic health authorities and higher education institutions cover the full cost of training and top-up fees are not charged. The consultation document, Funding Learning and Development for the Healthcare Workforce, sets out our proposal for a national model contract. It is intended that this contract for national health service-funded pre-registration courses, to be introduced from 1 April 2004, will specifically prohibit the charging of top-up fees to students.