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Heart Diseases: First Aid

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps are being taken to encourage people to learn resuscitation techniques for heart attack and stroke victims. (220013)

No specific steps are being taken by the Government to encourage people to learn resuscitation techniques for heart attack and stroke victims.

The NHS Plan made a commitment to provide 3000 automatic external defibrillators (AED) in public places. This helps to save the lives of those heart attack sufferers who have a cardiac arrest. National Defibrillator Programme resulted in over 6,050 site personnel from public places such as airports, railway stations and bus stations receiving training in basic life support (BLS) and the use of an AED. By the end of 2006, a further 11,405 people had been trained and 10,642 re-trained. Current responsibility for training lies with the Ambulance Service Trusts.

The Department has been working with the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Healthy Schools initiative to improve the information available to schools wishing to provide first aid and cardiac pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training to their pupils. A number of first aid and CPR training providers have been involved in this work and it is intended to publish a package of information for schools shortly.

People with stroke also require urgent treatment initiated by a 999 call. At the launch of the National Stroke Strategy in December 2007 (copies of which have already been placed in the Library), £12 million of central funding was set aside for raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke and the need to call 999. This work is in progress and will support a more urgent and timely response of the national health service and the public to stroke.