Southampton teenagers have experienced what it is like to become a doctor through an innovative summer school.

The two-day course at University Hospital Southampton saw students from secondary schools including Bitterne Park School and Redbridge Community College imitate taking blood and suturing - closing up wounds - on a model.

They also worked with doctors to find out what was 'wrong' with patients and experienced anatomy teaching in a lab environment.

READ MORE: University of Southampton LifeLab awarded £200,000 to tackle child obesity

Claire Spencer, a parent of a year 9 student said: “My daughter thoroughly enjoyed the two days and come home so excited about it.

“She now feels like becoming a doctor is a real possibility for her.

"Having come from a single parent background and studied at a state school, she believed she did not fit the bill of a medical student. But this experience has proved her wrong.”

The students also practiced basic lifesaving skills and had tours of the hospital’s acute medical unit and research facilities. The summer school concluded with lectures on the future of surgery, the use of robotics in surgery, and a talk on the type of research the hospital carries out.

The summer school was run by LifeLab, a dedicated health education facility for schools created by the University of Southampton in collaboration with the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and University Hospital Southampton.

Since its inception in 2008, 98 schools have participated in LifeLab activities, almost 14,000 students have visited the lab and 745 students have gone on to experience further opportunities through LifeLab like work experience.

Dr Kath Woods-Townsend, Associate Professor and LifeLab Programme Manager, said: “We know there is a shortage of doctors in the NHS, but we also know that young people don’t necessarily get the opportunities to gain work experience in healthcare, particularly under the age of 16.

“We believe it’s vital to give young people the chance to experience what studying to be a doctor is like before they make their A level choices.

“We are motivated to increase the number of doctors in the NHS and we don’t want young people to feel that there are any barriers to their success, which is why bursary places for our summer school are also available.”

LifeLab will be running another Experience Medicine Summer School next year, scheduled for July 2024. For more information, visit