New Dental School project update – April 2021

You may be aware that we have been working on a plan for a new Dental School. We want to develop a brand new clinical space for the majority of teaching and primary-care clinical training. Our aim is to create a high-quality clinical learning environment centred around education and patient care. We have been asked to deliver the new Dental School from September 2022.

We are pleased to let you know that we have a significant commitment from the University to invest funds into this project, and have commenced negotiations for the new site. We look forward to being able to share the new location when negotiations have concluded (we have been asked not to reveal this due to sensitive nature of the negotiations).

As well as being a member of the Project Board, Sina Gilannejad is also the student representative within the Design team, helping us to shape the design of the new Dental School. We are now close to a ‘stage 1’ sign-off on the design. This stage has involved the architects getting an in-depth understanding of our requirements. Our architects, BDP, have brought their considerable experience from designing healthcare buildings (including Birmingham Dental School and Hospital) and have supported the design team to think aspirationally about the new build. The aim of the design team has been to improve on the design of clinical spaces, introducing ‘clusters’ of dental chairs to allow for easier patient management and student supervision. A large café/social space creates a beating heart of the building and flexible events space. Central spaces run through the building, providing easy access to tutorial rooms from the clinical clusters, with support and service areas along with kitchenette and other facilities that enable staff and student interactions away from patient-facing areas.

We are expecting to see the very first architect drawings over the next couple of weeks, and colleagues in the Campus Division have indicated that they will run drop in sessions to present these drawings towards the end of April/early May for staff and students to see and offer feedback. You are welcome however to ask any questions or feed in ideas or suggestions in the meantime via Sina.

Outside of these main meetings we’ve been meeting with other key University stakeholders such as facilities management (cleaning, portering, security), IT, catering, Library, Public Engagement, amongst others. There are other external stakeholders that we’ve engaged with over the last few months, including the GDC, Health Education England, NHS Commissioners, Healthwatch Bristol, Office for Students and University Hospitals Bristol & Weston NHSFT. We have also been learning from other new Dental Schools including Birmingham, Plymouth and Cork (the latter due to open 2023).

Whilst we are excited by the phenomenal opportunity the new Dental School project offers, we would like to reassure you that we have continued to make investment into the existing estate to support clinical training. The Dental Hospital are investing significant funds into the air handling and design of clinical areas to improve airflow and increase clinical activity. The Dental School have also invested in speed increasing handpieces for student use on ADH and SBCH to increase the range of procedures that can be deliver in open chairs, plus additional supervisory staff to support clinical experience.

James Tubman

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