The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has thrown its support behind a new bill in parliament, which requires secondary schools to give young people the skills and confidence to deal with a range of medical emergencies.
This would include first aid training for 11-16 year olds in the event of cardiac arrests, heart attacks, choking, bleeding, asthma attacks, and seizures.
At the 2010 RCN Congress members voted to call on the government to mandate the teaching of first aid to school children. The college has also been in full support of the Every Child a Lifesaver campaign to make first aid education compulsory.
Fiona Smith, professional lead for children and young people’s nursing at the RCN, said: “First aid can and does make the difference between life and death. However, less than one in ten people are currently trained in the basic skills. By making this a compulsory part of education, we can equip our whole child – and future adult – population with the ability to help people and potentially save lives.”
The bill could save 5,000 lives, and “will touch each and every one of us” Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan, MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, said during the debate this morning.
Similarly, Teresa Pearce – the MP for Erith and Thamesmead – who brought the bill, said: “I know no one here wants to think of their own son or daughter facing an emergency situation and having no idea what to do to help. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone in the future. I want to make sure we create a generation of caring young people who always take the initiative to help where they can.”