An £8.5m academic centre for medical students was opened by the Duke of Kent at Milton Keynes Hospital this week.
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The Royal travelled to MK on Tuesday to unveil the centre, which will be an advanced study centre for the University of Buckingham’s independent medical school.
Facilities include a simulated operating theatre and video link showing live procedures taking place in the hospital’s operating theatres. There are working replicas of clinical wards and a 200-seat facility with capacity to stream lectures throughout the building.
Students can also practice advanced procedures on life-like medical mannequins, which will allow them to see real human responses without any risk to human wellbeing.
Construction of the building began in 2016 and finished in winter 2017.
The Duke said at the opening: “This Academic Centre will provide the students with a wonderful environment in which to learn.
“Understanding the emotions, fears and anxieties of patients and being able to communicate effectively and with great empathy is the key to being an effective doctor.”
A host of city dignitaries attended the unveiling, including the two MPs Iain Stewart and Mark Lancaster and the mayor David Hopkins.
Milton Keynes Hospital Trust CEO Joe Harrison said: “This is a brilliant building in which we can train the next generations of clinicians.
“The NHS is under immense pressure to deal with ever-increasing demand from a growing population. In many ways we are victims of our own success, helping people to live longer and more fulfilling lives with complex conditions.
“The chance to train and retain more clinicians, and recruit more using the pull of this academic centre, will help us to better meet the needs of local people and continue to provide excellent care in years to come.”
Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, added: “Thanks so much to the Duke of Kent for opening this pioneering centre.
“Thanks also to Milton Keynes Hospital Trust for such a great partnership which has enabled us to realise our vision of training students to become doctors with an excellent bedside manner as well as being first class academically.”
The £8.5 million building includes a £2 million grant from SEMLEP (South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership) as part of the Local Growth Fund initiative.
Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP’s Acting CEO, said: “This innovative hospital teaching facility will be a great resource for Milton Keynes and the South East Midlands - attracting doctors to the city to meet the needs of the growing population at the centre of the Oxford to Cambridge Corridor.
“We will continue to work with the University of Buckingham to monitor the full impact of this exciting new facility.”