The Duke of Kent opens University of Buckingham's new medical centre

The University of Buckingham has officially opened it's new £8.5m medical training centre, with the help of The Duke of Kent.

Prince Edward was given a tour of the state-of-the-art facility, built in partnership with Milton Keynes University Hospital at the hospital, before unveiling a plaque at today's ceremony (February 20).

The royal commented on the sophistication of the new facility

The royal commented on the sophistication of the new facility

The centre will be used by medical students, training doctors, nurses and health professionals, and houses simulation operating theatres, a 200-seater lecture theatre, and replica wards for University students to practice in.

Addressing a crowd of 250 invited guests, including chair of AVDC Sue Renshall and mayor of Buckingham Jon Harvey, the Duke of Kent said: “I want to congratulate all those that had the vision to make this happen, it's clearly been a long road.

“For students to be actually working with patients, or at least people pretending to be patients, it will be very, very valuable to them.”

Milton Keynes Hospital Trust CEO Joe Harrison commented: "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.

University VC thanked funders, and staff at the University Hospital

University VC thanked funders, and staff at the University Hospital

“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."

The centre includes technology to allow video-stream of lectures to be broadcast throughout the building, which feature a “hanging auditorium” – a lecture theatre that juts out on all sides half way up the building, with glass walls.

Students can practice advanced procedures on life-like medical mannequins, allowing them to see real human responses without any risk to human well-being.

Speaking before the unveiling, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham Sir Anthony Seldon offered a vote of thanks to staff at the Milton Keynes hospital. He said: "Thanks so much to The Duke of Kent for opening this pioneering centre and to SEMLEP for providing the funding to make it happen.

The Duke of Kent was joined by Sir Anthony Seldon (Left) and Milton Keynes Hospital Trust CEO Joe Harrison (Right)

The Duke of Kent was joined by Sir Anthony Seldon (Left) and Milton Keynes Hospital Trust CEO Joe Harrison (Right)

“Thanks to Milton Keynes Hospital Trust for such a great partnership which has enabled us to realize our vision of training students to become doctors with an excellent bedside manner as well as being first class academically."

Part of the buildings funding came from a £2m grant from SEMLEP, South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership as part of the Local Growth Fund initiative. Construction of the building began in 2016 and finished in winter 2017.

Hilary Chipping, SEMLEP’s acting CEO said: “SEMLEP was pleased to provide £2m of Local Growth Fund to support this project.

“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.

Construction of the new building completed at the end of 2017

Construction of the new building completed at the end of 2017

“We will continue to work with the University of Buckingham to monitor the full impact of this exciting new facility”

Medical courses at Buckingham are more condensed with a 4.5 year MB ChB programme.

The University of Buckingham was the first independent medical school in the country when it opened its doors in 2015.