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Compulsory CPR and Public Access Defibrillator education

Volume 594: debated on Thursday 26 March 2015

The Petition of residents of Bolton West,

Declares that all young people should leave school knowing how to save a life and further that the Petitioners believe that every child across the UK should be taught CPR and Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) awareness at secondary school in order to become part of a Nation of Lifesavers.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to put measures in place to ensure that every child is taught CPR and Public Access Defibrillator awareness at secondary school.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Julie Hilling, Official Report, 10 March 2015; Vol. 594, c. 267.]

[P001447]

The Petition of residents of Cambridge,

Declares that all young people should leave school knowing how to save a life and further that the Petitioners believe that every child across the UK should be taught CPR and Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) awareness at secondary school in order to become part of a Nation of Lifesavers.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to put measures in place to ensure that every child is taught CPR and Public Access Defibrillator awareness at secondary school.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dr Julian Huppert, Official Report, 10 March 2015; Vol. 594, c. 267.]

[P001448]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Education:

Many schools already choose to include cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillator awareness as part of their personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) teaching in the introduction to the new National Curriculum. We have highlighted the expectation that PSHE should be taught. Improving the quality of PSHE teaching is an objective of this Government. We do not, however, want to prescribe exactly which issues schools should have to cover in PSHE or other related parts of the curriculum.

CPR is included in the non-statutory PSHE Programme of Study produced by the PSHE Association. This suggested programme of study, produced by some of the leading experts in PSHE teaching, currently includes teaching young people how to recognise and follow health and safety procedures, ways of reducing risk and minimising harm in risky situations, and how to use emergency and basic first aid.

Many schools also make use of organisations such as the Red Cross and St John Ambulance, to provide information to young people about first aid and dealing with emergencies. The British Heart Foundation has offered to provide free CPR training kits to every secondary school in the country, allowing young people to gain first-hand experience of this important life-saving skill. We will work with the British Heart Foundation to promote these kits to schools and expect many schools to take up this offer.

The Government do recognise the vital difference that swift access to CPR and an automated external defibrillator (AED) can make in the event of a cardiac arrest. It is for this reason that we are encouraging all schools to consider purchasing one or more AEDs as part of their first-aid equipment.

On 26 November 2014, we announced new arrangements to allow all schools to purchase AEDs at a competitive price. We have also published advice on installing and maintaining AEDs on school premises, which has been developed drawing on the expertise of NHS ambulance services and a range of voluntary and community-sector organisations. It covers issues such as positioning, awareness training and maintenance, and is available online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/automated-external-defibrillators-aeds-in-schools. The guide also draws schools’ attention to the offer from the British Heart Foundation to provide free CPR training kits to secondary schools.

You will also be aware that the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his Budget speech on 18 March that the Government are setting aside £1 million to help buy defibrillators for public places, including schools, and to support training in their use. The detail of how this funding will be used is currently being considered.