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A conversation with SIMON WRIGHT, director of the ICE Hospital and Postgraduate Training Centre. 


What triggered the decision to open ICE?

We realised our students wanted not just theoretical content but hands on training with mentoring in the field of implant dentistry. The novel concept behind ICE was to provide a clinical component to map to the theory of the academic programmes. The seed was sown on a journey back from an Association of Dental Implantology (ADI) meeting. I was Director of Education for ADI, with responsibility for designing postgraduate education and training packages for the UK and Ireland. I was with two other ADI directors, Cemal Ucer and David Speechley. During our journey, we all agreed a more formal education was needed to underpin implant provision. We opened five years ago and have not looked back.

How did ICE get started?

David, Cemal and I initially wrote the course and obtained accreditation from Edge Hill University. We ran it in one of my practices. It was so successful we decided to open a training hospital. We converted a derelict building in Salford as the hospital. Then two years ago, the University of Salford, which is almost next door to our premises, took over accreditation of our courses.

What are the attractions of ICE for your students?

We have an operating theatre, lecture theatres, training suites, 7 dental surgeries, laboratory and break-out rooms. There is nothing quite like it. Our Masters courses have been very successful, and we have had 25 students every year for the last five years. We have just launched a new course in facial aesthetics, and we are offering courses in restorative dentistry, digital dentistry and sinus grafting. It’s a very positive place and our staff turn-over is low.

Do you cater for other members of the dental team?

Yes, we also train dental care professionals. We have a dental nurse faculty and we have a dental therapist school that partners with The Greater Manchester School for Dental Care Professionals. We are currently providing Certificates in Dental Implant Nursing and Dental Radiology for dental nurses and the Certificate in Implant Hygiene for dental therapists and hygienists.

What is the ethos of ICE?

Embedded in the ethos is the science of ‘human factors’. This is the science of optimizing performance to try and eliminate mistakes. Eighty per cent of complications are caused by human error. Human factors involves being open about what can go wrong and then establishing systems to prevent mistakes. These might involve team briefings or time and stress management, all geared to improving patient safety.

What are the attractions for the dentist of a course at ICE?

Firstly, we provide the patients. They are referred here and then triaged to assess their needs. If they are suitable as a training case, they get assigned to one of our students who is their clinician throughout their treatment. The patient journey is clearly delineated. Before they treat a patient, our students must first demonstrate their competence on models by undertaking surgical flaps and suturing. Secondly, students are assigned a mentor who is matched to their skill set. All the support is carefully correlated. Some students on the Masters course have already undertaken hundreds of cases and need very little mentoring, others need much more input.

How do patients feel about being treated at ICE?

Patients absolutely love being treated here. We have a vibrant atmosphere, as our students enjoy their training. Treatment is subsidised for the purposes of training.

What do you think your legacy will be?

I think ICE has changed the landscape in dental implant provision. We believe it’s important that GDPs can undertake implants, particularly as they manage their patients’ long-term care. We give our students everything they need to get started in dental implants as well as courses for their teams in managing dental implant hygiene. We are developing software so that we can follow-up with the patients. Ideally, we want to understand the long-term impact of dental implants and measure improvements in the quality of life of our patients. I would say our legacy is very positive.


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