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Mandatory CPR Classes in Schools

CPR being made mandatory in Schools, Is that a good thing?

Restart a Heart - CPR

Only 1 in 20 people will survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest in Scotland, compared to 1 in 10 in the UK. For every minute without CPR, survival drops by 10%, meaning after 10 minutes without bystander CPR the chances of survival are zero.

Figures show the number of people surviving cardiac arrests tripled in Denmark, after the country introduced the life-saving skill as a mandatory part of the curriculum. Mandatory CPR lessons in schools have helped the country achieve a 1 in 4 survival rate, meaning if you have a cardiac arrest in Denmark, you have a 25% chance of survival. Yet have one in the UK you have only a 10% chance, so surely mandatory CPR lessons in schools is a good thing?

In Yorkshire, Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) has been working with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) for several years, by running the “Restart a Heart” day (normally the 16th of October), across the county. In fact, it proved so vital and popular it has gone global, in 2016 schools in Australia took part. On Restart a Heart day 2017, 25,000 youngsters with the help of 900 volunteers in 125 schools learned the vital CPR lesson.

YAS saved more cardiac arrest patients than ever before in 2016-17, – 310 compared to 240 in 2015-16. Although survival rates have increased in Yorkshire over the last few years (9.3% in 2015-16 and 10.1% in 2016-17), statistics across the UK are still stubbornly low compared to countries like Norway (around 25%), where children learn CPR in schools.

Recently it has been announced that Glasgow will be the first city, in the United Kingdom, to make CPR lessons mandatory in all of it secondary schools.

A campaign by the Evening Times has pushed the Glasgow City Council to act and because of this, the SNP-led Council is to work with the British Heart Foundation Scotland, education officers and secondary teachers to put a plan in place. This plan should help bring Glasgow up in the world rankings of cardiac arrest strategy by putting CPR classes in secondary schools.

The Evening Times’ campaign works well with the Scottish Governments target, to equip an extra 500,000 people with CPR skills by 2020, which estimates suggest another 1,000 lives could be saved.

Councillor Chris Cunningham, Convener of Education for Glasgow City Council said:
“Glasgow schools have, for many years, offered a range of CPR and first aid training to pupils from P6 upwards, as part of BHFs Heartstart programme and delivered by our teachers.”

“We are delighted now to take this partnership to another level and work with BHF and the Evening Times ‘Glasgow’s Got Heart’ campaign and make a promise to start to formulate a plan, timescale and delivery method to ensure that secondary pupils, at an appropriate stage in the curriculum, all receive CPR training.”

“Discussions will now take place with secondary headteachers and education officers to agree a structure that will in the long term equip our young people with the valuable skills to help to save lives in our city.”

The move to introduce mandatory CPR classes in schools has been welcomed by several notable professionals, including David Murdoch, Lead Cardiologist for the Scottish Government.

He said to the Evening Times:
“I applaud this decision.”

“I know from personal experience, as a cardiologist in Glasgow, that teaching CPR in school makes a big impression on‎ young people and they will remember it for the rest of their lives.”

“I have looked after patients who have suffered an out of hospital cardiac arrest who have survived because a bystander had been taught CPR in school.”

“Even if they never use that practical knowledge, I think it helps develop some confidence in other emergency situations as well as a sense of community, where we take responsibility for going to the aid of others.”

The decision to make CPR compulsory in schools was unanimously supported by the readers of the Evening Times in an online poll. National research shows 65% of the population believe that compulsory lessons should be taught in schools.

So the answer to the question of “Is it a good thing?”, has to be a resounding Yes! However, it does ask the question: How long will it take the UK Government to act and follow Glasgow’s example?

If your interested in learning CPR, why not visit our website and find out when our next CPR course is!

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