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Other news - Tuesday, 16 February, 2021

"A human-scale structure optimized for the environment of Pécs has been created"

Driving or walking on Szigeti street, we can see that the construction of the new dental theoretical building is progressing dynamically, the work is in full swing. As it is known, construction began last year in March, and according to the plans, the investment of nearly two billion forints will be completed by the end of this summer. Dr. Ákos Nagy, associate professor, director, and head of division at the Clinical Center Department of Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is happy to confirm this information. We talked about the increase in capacity, the development of instrumentation, and the expected schedule of the move.

 

Written by Rita Schweier

 

- Recent visits, as well as reports and fulfilments handed in by the project management and the contractor all suggest that the new building will indeed be completed by the end of the summer. Construction is progressing according to schedule, and during our January visit, the construction manager confirmed that they will withdraw from the area in early September.

- How much will your capacity increase in the new building?

- Roughly by half, the number of medical posts will be 67, we will have that many dental chairs. In addition to patient care, we can also satisfy the needs of teachers and students at a much better, higher quality level.

Our department provides the theoretical and practical background of the dental programme, our training is very practice-oriented: our students study only 15-20 percent of theory in the fourth and fifth years, the rest is practice. Everything that a general medicine student acquires confidently in the sixth-year rotation and later during the residency training, is done independently by our students from the second and third years. The dentistry student also provides definitive dental care to patients in the fields of surgery, periodontology, conservative dentistry, and prosthodontics, giving them the same care as if they were going to their district dentist. This means that if they receive their degree as a dentist, they can practise immediately while a long postgraduate training awaits a general practitioner until they become fully-fledged doctors who are able to operate independently by the end of their specialist training with the help of their tutors and senior teachers.

We need to provide the necessary conditions for the training of more than four hundred dental students, and with the establishment of the English and German programmes in the 2000s and the increase in state-financed places from 2013, we have outgrown our territory. Neither the volume nor our infrastructure nor our human resources have tripled for the trilingual education, although we have managed to double the number of staff: we now have more than 140 colleagues compared to the initial 69. In 2018, there were nearly fifty thousand patient visits here at our headquarters on Dischka Győző Street, and this building can no longer bear this load.

- Will the new building fully meet the ideas you have dreamed up?

- It will definitely meet the realistic ideas. I started by asking colleagues to design an ideal teaching and patient care environment for themselves. As a summary of these, a 95-chair department was created, the implementation of which would not be possible from a financial point of view, and it must be taken into account that this is an environment in Pécs. If we increase the number of students to over 600, we will not be able to provide enough patients for the highly practice-oriented training. For example, if a removable denture needs to be made and there are fifty students in the grade, then the same number of patients is needed. At the same time, it is also important that there should be no more than five students to be supervised by the supervisor in order to correct possible errors in a timely manner and to check and allow the continuation of treatment. My colleagues are doing a great job, several of them win the title of Excellent Supervisor each year, and they can also be nominated for Rector’s Praise. But if the number of students increases, there will presumably be fewer colleagues who will have such recognitions.

I think that a human-scale structure has been created, optimized for the environment of Pécs, and with it a capacity increase of almost fifty percent as well. Our currently 3-4-chair classrooms will expand to 7-10-12-chair classrooms, so the groups do not have to be divided that much and we do not have to add an extra class to the timetable either. In addition, chairs may be vacated for postgraduate training and patient care related to territorial healthcare obligations, as the clinic has primary, specialist, and university-level districts— more than twenty — and these requirements must be met as well.

- How much progress can you make in terms of instrumentation?

- As head of department and major director, I am grateful to the leadership of the School and the university for giving us an independent application opportunity. It has been clear for many years that we need to move out of here because our current building is old and it is not enough for us in terms of floor space, especially because the inpatient department is with us as well. When I moved to Pécs at the age of thirty-five, there was a treatment unit here that was older than me. It was the first thing we replaced, and then, with the help of independent applications, we have now achieved that the average age of our dental treatment units has been reduced to five to six years. According to the plans, we can take 75 percent of our current equipment with us, which means that we already own a good half of the new capacity. I am confident that, depending on the economic situation, the other half can be secured through public procurement tenders announced in time.

- When do you think the complete move will be feasible?

- We are constantly working, we never stop, we also provide professional practice for our students during the summer break, for one half of them in July and for the other half in August. The colleagues of the department also go on leave based on this. At the same time, we have districts and territorial healthcare obligations as well. For this reason, I can only imagine the move as a process, per module. Part of the equipment needs to be relocated to the new location so that we can continue to perform teaching and patient care work there as well. I can imagine the complete move in a year or two, currently I see the summer of 2022 as realistic. The goal is to create an instrumentation that adapts to the new building. Learning from the pandemic and hybrid and digital education, we are also trying to procure camera systems and digital equipment suitable for live surgeries. Fortunately, these are getting better and cheaper, so I am confident we can buy them in a year or two after the move.

- Why did you decide that inpatient care will not be located in the new building?

- There are two reasons for this: on the one hand, the establishment of a sterile operating room and the patient rooms would have doubled the cost, and on the other hand, a model dreamed up by the profession and ready for construction, a head and neck care centre, was established within the Clinical Center. ENT surgeons, neurologists and maxillofacial surgeons also took part in this, who will form the centre's staff together, work in a joint operating unit and will be available to each other by setting up operating teams and consultations. This work is ongoing, just not concentrated in one place. Maxillofacial surgeons also work closely with dentists, as patients need to be rehabilitated after head injuries or oncology surgeries. The original idea was that inpatient care would be established at the obstetrics department of the old Baranya County Hospital, which is the most modern, newest section of the Rákóczi street site. I think it would have been a mistake to create a completely new, extremely expensive and low-capacity, independent system in the frame of a greenfield investment.

- If the move takes place, but this centre is not yet established, will inpatient care remain temporarily here in the building on Dischka Győző street?

- Yes, although it would not be fortunate and would be very frustrating too, seeing similar examples in another fields. This is therefore an urgent issue to be resolved. The dental outpatient department of the Department of Dentistry, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is the dental programme itself. Plenty of patients and students show up here, and most patients receive care in the frame of education. 80-85 percent of the department’s activity is focused on this, and we will not be able to duplicate administration and X-ray diagnostics for maxillofacial surgery. We are confident that we will find a solution to this issue as well, and we will be able to provide world-class patient care and education in several respects in the near future.

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