A CAR crash outside the Great Western Hospital gave 25 students from in and around Swindon a glimpse of the diverse range of careers in the NHS as they followed a patient’s journey from roadside to recovery, on Tuesday.

The Year 9 pupils from Swindon Academy, were among those from Wiltshire schools who were at the hospital to take part in the trust's second simulation day.

Following a successful first outing in 2015, this latest simulation event followed the story of a cyclist struck by a car and their subsequent journey through the NHS.

Students watched as crews from South Western Ambulance Service cared for the blood-covered victim at the scene of the accident before transferring them to hospital.

They then accompanied the patient through the hospital, from the Emergency Department to X-Ray and from theatre to ward, to see how the many different teams at GWH work together and use their skills under pressure.

As well as watching the pros at work, the students were able to try their hand at basic life support before putting their questions to a range of healthcare professionals, including radiographers, midwives, physiotherapists and paramedics.

The idea behind the day is to give schoolchildren, who may have already started to think about potential career paths, the chance to experience a typical working day in the healthcare sector.

Dr Michael Natarajan, Clinic Lead for Simulation, said: “Most of us will be lucky enough to never see an actual road traffic accident, so it’s a real eye-opener for these children to see how various people come together to support those who have been injured.

“It was an exciting day for everyone and the children were great. They got really involved in the simulation, asked lots of questions and showed a real interest in pursuing a career in healthcare.

“There really is no better way to experience the NHS than to see it played out in front of you by real healthcare professionals and I hope this experience will stay with the children when they begin to think about possible careers.”

The simulation day is just one of the ways in which Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust engages with young people from the local community.

For a number of years the popular Dare to Doctor, Dare to Nurse and Dare to Deliver programmes have given older A-level students the chance to shadow medics on the wards, learn basic clinical skills and build-up experience of working in a healthcare environment.

As one of the country’s leading providers of simulation training, the Great Western Hospital sees medical students from all over the south west come to Swindon to benefit from the state-of-the-art facilities.

Last month the hospital received international acclaim when 15 healthcare leaders from the Zhejiang Health Bureau in China paid a special visit to Swindon to see how the simulation facility could be reproduced for students in the Far East.