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Big Health Day inspires healthcare professionals of the future

Big Health Day 2A ground-breaking and ambitious new initiative, the brainchild of a vascular surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary, is set to ensure that 'we grow our own' NHS staff for the future.

In the first event of its kind, more than 70 'healthcare heroines' from across the city came together today to inspire students at Whalley Range High School for Girls to become health professionals of the future.

The healthcare heroines are all inspirational women who have forged successful careers in a range of health professions including medicine, surgery, nursing, therapy, management, and academia, both in Greater Manchester and at national level.  Some are responsible for running multi-million pound organisations such as Julia Bridgewater, Chief Operating Officer at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Manisha Kumar, Clinical Director of Manchester Health and Care Commissioning.

Together, they showcased the wide range of careers available in health and social care to the school's 1,000 aspiring young learners.  The aim was to introduce the students to new career ideas that they wouldn't have otherwise hought of, and also to provide an opportunity for them to get hands-on and have a go at some of the things health professionals do such as suturing, laparoscopy (a minimally invasive surgical technique), measuring blood pressure, and vascular scanning

Taking part in the event were organisations from across Greater Manchester, including representatives from Manchester Royal Infirmary and Salford Royal Hospital, GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), and the Universities of Manchester and Salford that provide training for a number of health professions.

"This exciting event has attracted tremendous support,"  said Naseer Ahmad, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Manchester Royal Infirmary, who was behind the event.  "We see this as the start of a social movement where health and educational organisations work together across Greater Manchester to inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals."

"This was a fantastic opportunity to show our students the wealth of career options available and widen the horizons of those already interested in working in health,"  said Liz Hole, Academy Headteacher at Whalley Range High School.

Organisers hope to develop a resource toolkit that can be used by other schools to organise similar events across Greater Manchester in the future.