Time capsule marks the start of a new academic centre

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Construction of an £8.5millon academic centre is about to begin at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

The state-of-the-art building is the result of a partnership between the hospital and the University of Buckingham Medical School.

The university also received a £2m grant from South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), as part of the local growth fund initiative, which has helped to make the project possible.

The new academic centre will provide an outstanding resource for medical education and training for students, doctors, nurses and health professionals throughout the hospital.

To mark the beginning of construction, the University and the Hospital have created a joint ‘time capsule’ for future generations of medical students and healthcare professionals, which was sealed on the site of the new building on Monday (September 19).

Ideas for the capsule have come from the staff at the hospital and from the 62 medical students from the university who will be training full-time at the hospital from next year.

Objects include a pinard or ‘trumpet’ stethoscope used to listen to unborn babies and inscribed by the hospital midwives, and a letter from the first group of Buckingham medical students to their colleagues of the future.

The capsule will be on display in the foyer of the new academic centre for 100 years - to be opened on September 19, 2116.

Planned facilities in the pioneering building include a simulated operating theatre and a video link showing live procedures taking place in the hospital’s operating theatres, working replicas of clinical wards, and a 200-seat lecture with capacity to stream lectures throughout the building.

University of Buckingham chief operating officer, Professor John Clapham, said: “This building is an important symbol of the way the partnership between the university and the hospital has developed.

“We’ve been working closely with the trust over a number of years and the building is a symbol of the University’s commitment both to the trust and on delivering high quality medical education.

“It has proved to be a very successful relationship. The University of Buckingham opened its doors as the country’s first independent medical school in January 2015.

“Our main hub for clinical training is at Milton Keynes University Hospital. There has been a keen demand for places. Our curriculum focuses on training doctors who will treat patients as people and have an excellent bedside manner as well as great clinical skills.

“Milton Keynes University Hospital has already proved to be invaluable to students needing to gain the vital skills and expertise needed to handle the situations they may face.”

Professor Joe Harrison, chief executive of Milton Keynes University Hospital, added: “This is an incredibly exciting partnership, establishing our hospital as a centre of learning, education and academic excellence in the NHS.

“We are proud to be working with the University of Buckingham Medical School to nurture and develop the next generation of doctors.

“Today’s ceremony marks the beginning of the next phase in the development of Milton Keynes University Hospital and confirms our commitment to education and training as a critical component in the provision of safe, effective care for patients now and in the future”.

Guests for the time capsule ceremony included councillor Steve Coventry, Mayor of Milton Keynes, who has also written a letter to be included in the time capsule for future generations of Milton Keynes’ citizens, Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, Baroness Margaret Wall, Chairman, MKUH NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Joe Harrison, CEO of Milton Keynes University Hospital Trust.

The ceremony was followed by a reception at MK Dons Stadium.

Speakers included Chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research, Luke Johnson and Dr Ann Limb, CBE DL, Chairman of SEMLEP.