The Peninsula Dental School in Truro – the UK’s first new dental school for 40 years – has taken a major step forward.
It has gained planning permission for its new building at the Knowledge Spa – that will house a state-of-the-art dental education facility and its Cornwall headquarters – and building work begins in two weeks.
The money will come from an investment award from the European Convergence Programme managed by South West Regional Development Agency.
The Peninsula Dental School welcomed its first students in Plymouth in September last year.
The new facility will open in Truro in January 2010, when the School’s first students will transfer to Truro to continue their training.
The go ahead to establish the Peninsula Dental School was won by the Peninsula Medical School in January 2006, when it was awarded 64 of the 100 new dental student places on offer from the Government.
Key to the award was the anticipated contribution the Peninsula Dental School will make to dental care services in an area where NHS dental cover is identified as poor.
The Peninsula Dental School in Truro will be built alongside the Knowledge Spa, which is currently home to the Peninsula Medical School and Faculty of Health and Social Work in Truro.
The building will include 32 dental chairs arranged in groups of eight for training purposes, four single surgeries for individual requirements, and research and office provision.
Treatments begin when the facility opens early in 2010 and will be available for routine treatments for NHS patients and it is hoped that it will provide for those people currently without NHS dental provision.
Details regarding how to access treatments will be announced nearer the time.
The facility represents an £11.5million investment for Truro and the county of Cornwall.
It is estimated that the Peninsula Dental School in Truro will, at its peak, be able to treat up to 128 patients a day.
Professor Liz Kay, Dean of the Peninsula Dental School, said: ‘We are delighted to have achieved three important milestones, which will allow us to realise our vision to provide first class dental education in Cornwall.
‘Our programme focuses on quality dental care in the community, and as a result our students will be able to provide support and treatments under supervision, which will enhance existing dental provision in Cornwall.
‘Our objective is to contribute substantially to the long term dental health of the South West peninsula.’
Director of Primary Care at Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust and practising dentist, Dr Peter Knibbs, said: ‘The Peninsula Dental School will help to bring a new generation of dentists to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, improving access to services and raising standards of care. Dentistry is a key health priority for our community and I am very excited about the improvements that this new state-of-the-art school will bring.’
Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Chief Executive, John Watkinson said: ‘We have established a strong reputation for the quality of undergraduate education within the Trust, with a large proportion of Peninsula Medical School students choosing to continue their careers in Cornwall.
‘I firmly believe we will achieve similar success with the Dental School and can look forward to a much-needed expansion of NHS dental care in the county.’