Anyone who’s been back to their university recently will probably agree that the décor doesn’t always do justice to the fresh thinking that goes on behind their walls.
Dental schools are no exception – so as one of the most renowned in the country, few would begrudge Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry a lick of paint.
But the school, part of Queen Mary University of London, hasn’t just had a facelift – it’s had a full body makeover.
Costing approximately £80 million, the Barts Health Dental Hospital moved to new accommodation in the Alexandra wing of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel in April 2014. With 17,700m2 of floor space, the new facility is bigger, brighter and greener than ever.
It’s the first new dental school to be built in the capital for more than 40 years, and houses state-of-the-art facilities, providing a modern learning environment for dental education.
With a laid back feel, the facility has been designed with clinical functionality at its core. Complemented by cutting edge technology, its staff and students – and the patients they treat there – benefit from an enhanced teaching and learning experience and a high quality of care that’s underpinned by world-class research.
So when it comes to building a new dental hospital, where does one start?
This is where Philip Taylor comes in. He has had a guiding hand in the project since its infancy three years ago.
Having qualified in 1981 from Newcastle Upon Tyne Dental School, Philip has spent his time gaining much experience in dentistry (Philip has more than a handful of qualifications, including an MGDS, MSc, MRD and FDS).
By 2001, having dedicated 20 years to practising, he had moved to full-time academia and today is clinical director of dentistry at Barts Health and clinical lead in restorative dentistry, as well as a registered specialist in prosthodontics and restorative dentistry.
When asked why the A-dec 500.Three dental chair was picked by the hospital for its treatment bays, he says: ‘We chose A-dec for its robust construction and excellent track record. In addition, it gave us the flexibility for not only right- and left-handed operation, but also allowed colleagues in each specialty to have their exact requirements whilst keeping continuity throughout the school.’
‘The chair action is really smooth; its soft-start mode offers seamless movement and it’s extremely quiet, which is excellent for anxious patients!’
‘The LED lights are fantastic – the three different intensities, which include a “cure safe mode”, are a great factor,’ Philip continues.
A-dec has an enviable track record in large-scale contracts; it recently fitted 137 chairs at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry and is currently contracted by the Ministry of Defence to supply new dental units to the Defence Dental Services.
This pedigree is just one of the many reasons why Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry picked A-dec as its company of choice to fit its new chairs and cabinetry.
The institute currently holds the record for A-dec’s largest single site project with the 111 chairs installed there.
The team at Barts considered every aspect of the project with a microscopic level of detail – and it shows in the final result. From the state-of-the-art dental laboratory, to the phantom head training area and lecture rooms, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry has thought of everything.
‘Schottlander helped us with the laboratory; the company was excellent and its support invaluable – especially the owner Brian Schottlander,’ says Philip.
It’s now been two months since the new facility opened and the feedback is overwhelmingly positive – from students, staff and patients alike.
‘It’s lovely, it’s new and the patients love it,’ Philip continues.
‘Some of the students and team have commented that it’s like having a new kitchen in your house and they are so proud of it – especially with all the new cabinetry that A-dec supplied and installed. There’s a real connection between user and equipment, which means that everything is well looked-after! Patients love coming because the chairs are so comfortable.’
With 100 postgraduates, 100 staff and 80 new students a year, one of the requirements of the institute was that the equipment be easy to use by all.
‘The A-dec chairs have multi-user programmes, so each chair can have several users and their settings can be programmed to suit their needs,’ explains Philip.
He describes the logistics behind training everyone on how to use the new chairs: ‘We used a video, produced by A-dec, which shows the functions of the chair and how to control everything. I’ll expect to use it every year when we get a new batch of students.’
The whole team is especially grateful to Christopher Cox (A-dec’s institutional territory manager) and Eugene O’Malley (territory manager for southern England and south Wales) who oversaw the project from tender to grand opening. Philip says: ‘It might sound strange, but they weren’t like salesmen; there was no hard sell and we didn’t need any add-ons or extras.
‘From start to finish, I experienced excellent project management and faultless installation from the A-dec team. Christopher became like a project manager for the entire installation; he oversaw everything and made sure it went smoothly.’