Torbay Hospital’s education and research facility has reopened after an extensive redevelopment project that will support the training of medical students, multi-professional learners and staff from across the organisation.
The Horizon Centre is a state-of-the-art environment on the Torbay Hospital site, which hosts many of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s education and research initiatives. The works have enhanced the educational and social facilities for both undergraduate learners and the wider staff community.
The redevelopment work totalled £660,000 and was funded by the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Medical School. This is in recognition of the increased number of medical students that Torbay and South Devon now hosts, ultimately improving their clinical learning and practice experience.
The Torbay Clinical Skills Wing was opened by Dr Claire Blandford, Clinical Project Lead for the steering group, and Will Denford, the trust’s previous Head of Medical Education, who was involved with the project from an early stage.
Members of the project steering group were in attendance, including representatives from Peninsula Projects and MBS, and staff from the Horizon Centre, estates and education departments. Ian Currie, Medical Director and Deborah Kelly, Chief Nurse also attended the opening, along with representatives from the Peninsula Medical School.
Torbay and South Devon has valued and established partnerships with both Peninsula Medical School and University of Exeter Medical School and has hosted year five medical students from both schools for many years. In 2017, the board extended its agreement with Peninsula Medical School to begin hosting students from years three and four undergraduate medicine, which increased the number of medical students onsite incrementally from approximately 50 to a total of 110 last year.
The majority of the redevelopment project has focused on upgrading facilities and refurbishing the lower ground floor of the Horizon Centre, which included increasing the number of simulation suites used for training.
New debrief spaces and a wellbeing room have been created as part of the clinical skills hub, with enhanced storage facilities. Every teaching room on the floor has been refurbished, including the installation of upgraded audio-visual facilities.
Significant works have taken place in the library, which have included a complete upper floor upgrade with new furniture, the development of three small study rooms and a new reception foyer desk. Additional works in the reference space have been funded by the Education Directorate at Torbay and South Devon.
The vacant space of the former Horizon Centre café, now renamed ‘The hC’, is now a brand-new dining area with seating and relaxation spaces, with plans submitted for 24/7 food and drinks provision via specialist vending machines.
Dr Claire Blandford, Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Project Lead for the redevelopment, said: “We are absolutely delighted with the redevelopment and refurbishment works that have taken place in the Horizon Centre. This means we can continue to provide a high level of support for the training and development of our medical students. The enhanced education and social facilities will also benefit staff across the organisation who attend training and utilise the space and resources.
“I would like to thank the Peninsula Medical School as without their funding and commitment to our organisation this wouldn’t have been possible. Peninsula Projects, MBS and our estates team have done a terrific job, and thank you also to all our Horizon Centre teams for their considerable help and patience while the works have taken place.”
Dr Adele Hill, Interim Head of Peninsula Medical School, said: “We are really pleased to be able to support the new development and know it will be a very much valued resource for staff and students alike.
“In the last five years, the University has nearly doubled its intake of student doctors, which is great for training the medical professionals of the future, but we can only offer the best student experience if we have top quality placement providers for students to work with. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust has been a brilliant partner in this respect, and we are really looking forward to seeing the facilities in action.”
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