New Enlarged Bristol Dental School Opens

New Enlarged Bristol Dental School Opens

When the Government revealed its ambitious long term medical workforce plan earlier this year, there were many questions about how the promised numbers of home grown workers could be delivered.

Part of that capacity has now become available with the opening of Bristol’s new Dental School. After over 80 years at Bristol Dental Hospital, the Bristol Dental School has moved to a new site near Temple Meads, at Trinity Quay. The 36 million pound project is part of the new Temple Quarter campus.

With around 7,300 square metres of space and 119 dental chairs, the enlarged facility will also enable the University to increase the number of available student places by about 25 percent.

In addition to its existing teaching programmes, the new facilities will enable the Dental School to offer new courses including a Diploma in Dental Nursing which will build on the School’s successful strategy to diversify by empowering and supporting prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds to access a university education, especially from the local communities. This allows the University to respond to the NHS Long Term Plan which sets out a growth in dental and hygiene/therapy training.

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In a uncoupling from Specialist Care, the Bristol Dental Hospital remains at the old location. Research will also remain at the old site. Dr Barry Main, Head of the Dental School and Consultant Senior Lecturer in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, said: “The majority of teaching in our new primary-care facility will enable students to work as part of multi-professional teams. Being alongside trainees in dental hygiene, therapy, and nursing, mirrors the environment of real-world practice. While we will retain our links with local NHS partners to deliver training in specialist clinics and in postgraduate education, our new primary-care focussed model will allow a tailor-made approach that ensures each student leaves us ready for day one of foundation training. Our new curriculum, developed in the last five years, is underpinned by an ethos of personal development, evidence-based practice, and integrated patient care.”

The University describes the New Model as allowing primary care services and training to take place in the most appropriate setting, with students training at the most appropriate level, with the majority going on to work in “primary care settings such as high street dental surgeries”.

Free dental treatment for the local community by undergraduate students, will continue to be available at the new site.

This is one of the first models for delivery of this training in the UK where a Higher Education Institute has direct responsibility for running CQC registered clinical facilities in which dental professionals train.

The new building features a public art installation at the front, with characters The Denticles, created by Gav Strange, director and designer at the renowned Bristol based Aardman Animations.

At the official opening, Professor Evelyn Welch, Vice-Chancellor, and President of the University of Bristol said: “It is fantastic to see these wonderful new facilities open today. This marks a significant milestone for the University’s strategy as we embark on a mission to both revolutionise dental education and make a profound, positive impact on our local community.”

Image credits: University of Bristol

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