Dental students training in Leeds now have access to some of the best facilities in the world thanks to the completion of a £9.5 million refurbishment of the Leeds Dental Institute.
The newly-transformed facilities will be officially opened in a ceremony today by a young patient who has had extensive dental treatment at Leeds Dental Institute as part of her overall treatment for cardiac surgery.
Leeds Dental Institute is run jointly by the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. It is located in the Worsley Building next to Leeds General Infirmary.
The investment provides a first class environment for patients and the most up- to-date facilities for the teaching of dental students and other dental care professionals including student dental nurses and hygienists.
The refurbishment includes a new entrance and reception, 120 new dental chairs, a new x-ray department and 24 new surgeries for NHS consultants to provide specialist dental treatment.
The University of Leeds and Leeds and Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust bid for the investment three years ago so that the number of undergraduates studying dentistry could be expanded, and to give dental students in Leeds access to up-to-date, world-class facilities.
Dr Margaret Kellett, Director of Leeds Dental Institute, commented: "Thanks to this very significant investment we have transformed the building and provided a state-of-the-art facility where more dental students will be able to receive top quality training in a modern environment.
"Our new curriculum and our dental mannequin unit have been hailed as the most innovative and advanced in Europe. The changes have been very well received by students and staff and we are already making a big difference to dental training in the region."
The transformation of dental undergraduate training in Leeds is in response to an initiative by the Department of Health and the Higher Education Funding Council for England, begun in 2005, to expand training of dental undergraduates to address a national shortage of NHS dentists.
Leeds Dental Institute trains up to 96 undergraduate dentists per year, who undertake a 5 year course. Prior to the refurbishment the figure was 65 per year. In total there are currently 450 undergraduate dentists in training.
The Institute also has 75 dental hygiene/therapy students, 50 full-time dental nurse students and 120 part-time dental nurse students, 24 full-time and 24 part-time dental technology students and 60 postgraduate students.
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The opening ceremony will take place at 1pm on 4 July 2011 in the foyer of the Leeds Dental Institute, Level 5 of the Worsley Building (which is next to the Clarendon Wing at Leeds General Infirmary). It will be performed by a patient who has had extensive dental treatment at Leeds Dental Institute as part of her overall treatment for cardiac surgery. The Assistant Chief Dental Officer for England, Sue Gregory, will also be also attending.