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‘Every Child a Lifesaver’ campaign gathers pace as MPs learn first aid 9th November 2015

MPs from across the UK, including seven from the South East, have been given a hands-on first aid lesson in Westminster, as public support grows for the teaching of lifesaving skills to be made compulsory in schools.

The parliamentary reception, on Tuesday 27 October, gave MPs, including Sir Roger Gale, the opportunity to learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and how to treat choking, burns and bleeding.

The event is part of the Every Child a Lifesaver campaign – an initiative launched by St John Ambulance, the British Heart Foundation, and the British Red Cross to gain backing for the Emergency First Aid Education Bill.

The Bill will have its second reading in Parliament on 20 November and hundreds of members of the public across the South East have been contacting their MPs asking them to support the Bill and attend the vote.

Sir Roger Gale commented:

“As Vice-President of Canterbury and Coastal St. John I am particularly aware of the value of first aid training and I have also met with a constituent who – quite literally – saved her husband`s life when he collapsed on her kitchen floor. She kept him alive until the Paramedics arrived and without her presence of mind and training the healthy man that I met would not be with us today. This measure is of absolutely vital importance”.

What is emergency first aid?

The Bill, tabled by Teresa Pearce MP, will require secondary schools to give young people the skills and confidence to deal with a range of medical emergencies including cardiac arrests, heart attacks, choking, bleeding, asthma attacks, and seizures. Importantly, emergency first aid education ensures that pupils know to seek help and support when needed, including from the emergency services. The Bill also recognises the emotional needs of people that step in to help in a medical emergency - it prepares young people to deal with situations where their interventions may not have saved a life.

Sue Killen, CEO at St John Ambulance, said:

‘Nothing is more important to us than young people learning the skills to save a life. We urge everyone to go to so MPs see that this campaign has backing in every community. Without your support, we can't make this happen; but with your support, we could achieve something brilliant: Every Child a Lifesaver.’

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:

‘The survival rate for out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK is shockingly low compared to other countries where CPR is widely taught. Our MPs and Government now have the opportunity to take responsibility for addressing this needless loss of life. By supporting this Bill they can make life saving skills a mandatory part of every young person’s education and help save more lives.’

Teresa Pearce MP, who tabled the bill, said:

‘Nobody wants to think of a loved one having an accident or a serious medical emergency. It’s horrible to imagine. But there is something worse. Having to watch a loved one in trouble and not being able to do anything to help. I want us to make every child a lifesaver.

‘What the Bill aims to do is simple, straightforward and common-sense. It aims to make the next generation confident to leap into action and try and save a life rather than simply being bystanders. Making the teaching of vital lifesaving skills in school is a no brainer. It’s supported by major charities, by medical professionals, by parents and by teachers. And it’s time it was part of every child's education, to give people the absolute best chance of surviving emergency situations.’

Widespread support for first aid in schools

Research developed by the charities shows: • 85% of adults agree that first aid should be a compulsory part of the national curriculum

• 84% of secondary school teachers agree that first aid should be taught on the school curriculum

• 95% of parents agree that first aid should be taught at secondary school

• 97% of 11-16 year olds agree they should be taught first aid, saying it should definitely or probably be taught at secondary school.

However 57% of teachers say they believe it would take first aid training to be a requirement in order for more schools to take it seriously as only 24% of schools currently teach it.


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