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British Science Week: Training our Surgeons of tomorrow

More than a dozen people from across Leeds were given the chance to perform complex keyhole surgery at an event celebrating the Leeds Festival of Science. Don’t worry; members of the public weren’t carrying out the procedures on real patients but rather on simulators.

The event, one of many taking place across the city as part of British Science Week 2016, took place at our state of the art facilities in the LIMIT suite at St James’s University hospital and was led by Specialists from Cancer Research UK.

British Science Week is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths – featuring fascinating, entertaining and engaging events and activities across the UK for people of all ages. Cancer Research UK wanted to provide the public with an insight into the cutting edge technology used in surgery and what better place to showcase this technology, but in our own dedicated training facility for minimally invasive surgery.

Visitors needed a steady hand as they got to grips with performing keyhole surgery on our laparoscopic training simulators. The exercises they completed were exactly the same as those carried out by surgeons during their training here at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and they soon discovered that a great deal of concentration & hand-eye coordination was needed. Simulation is a big part of training, giving surgical trainees the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the instruments and whilst practicing the latest techniques in a safe environment.

In addition to gaining first-hand experience of the latest surgical techniques, visitors were also treated to a fascinating talk from Dr Ryan Matthew, a brain cancer surgeon who shared what it was really like to be a brain surgeon.

In the spirit of British Science Week, it was wonderful to see all different age groups come together and explore the science behind life-saving research and surgery techniques. Those that came along clearly enjoyed the hands-on experience and it was fantastic to see their curiosity grow as they were introduced to the science and technology used in training our surgeons – and who knows, amongst the crowd there may well have been the next brain surgeon of the future.

If you are interested in finding out more about the simulation and training opportunities Medical Education Leeds provides please contact our Clinical Skills & Simulation Development Lead, Jo Johnson.