A Liverpool secondary school played host to lead consultant neurosurgeon, Paul May from The Walton Centre as part of a new initiative to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS this year.
As part of the celebrations, Mr May visited students at North Liverpool’s Alsop High School to showcase his work as a neurosurgeon. Students heard about the amazing innovations and work going on at the specialist neuroscience trust. They then got to try their hand at removing blood clots from the brain, using watermelons as substitute heads.
Mr May’s visit comes as part of NHS England and NHS Improvement’s initiative to send leading NHS professionals into schools across the UK. Working alongside Speakers For Schools, a charity dedicated to helping leading figures give free school talks and work experience opportunities to students from state schools, academies and colleges, the campaign aims to inspire and raise awareness about the 350 different careers in the service as well as demonstrating the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Mr May said: “I think the main purpose of doing visits like this is to inspire in everyone, no matter their background, the drive to achieve in any field of life that they want. I’m only here doing what I do because of my family, my education, and my support networks.
“I’m in a privileged position to be able to pass on aspirations, to tell students that there’s no barrier to becoming a neurosurgeon, it’s about ability and commitment. Alsop is a fantastic school; it’s a very community and socially responsible school, and a real privilege to visit.”
Students also heard about Mr May’s role as President of the Society of British Neurosurgeons, and the work of other consultants at The Walton Centre. At the end of the event, the school released 70 balloons to commemorate the 70th birthday of the NHS this year.
Headteacher Joe Mangan said: “We were honoured to host Mr May and hear about his work at The Walton Centre. His practical lesson stimulated our students and left them enthralled. Aspirations were certainly raised and hopefully our students will follow their dream of studying medicine. Thank you to Mr May for engaging with Alsop students.”
Ashley Hodges, executive director of Speakers for Schools said: “We are thrilled to be supporting the NHS’ 70th birthday by helping NHS leadership get into schools across the UK, celebrating not only its amazing contributions to Britain since its foundation, but also the array of specialists, innovators and outstanding individuals that make their work possible.”
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England said: “As the NHS turns 70 this year, we can rightly be proud of the enormous contribution it has made to our country.
“But it is absolutely vital we inspire young people to think about working in the NHS and to take up the vital STEM subjects that will equip them for rewarding careers in the future workforce of the NHS.”