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Primary school pupils should be trained in first aid, says charity

Children learning how to perform first aid (Getty)
Children learning how to perform first aid (Getty)

A charity is calling for all primary school children in Scotland to be given first aid training in the hope of saving lives.

St Andrew’s First Aid wants youngsters to learn vital skills such as how to put someone in the recovery position and guidance on calling an ambulance.

It comes after a survey found 52% of 1,000 adults in Scotland think children aged between five and eight should be able to call for an ambulance, and 43% believe the same age group should be able to put someone in the recovery position.

Stuart Callison, chief executive of St Andrew’s First Aid, said: “One of our key priorities is to provide as many people as possible in Scotland with first aid training.

“Research has shown that even very young children can learn the basics of first aid and that the skills and knowledge they develop at a young age will stay with them for years.

“We can equip them with the necessary skills to help a parent, family member, friend or someone in the street. By knowing how to call for an ambulance, put someone into the recovery position or assist a person who has suffered a heart attack, they will help save lives.

“This is why we feel it is so important to partner with local authorities, with the support of the Scottish Government, to identify ways in which we can make it easy for teachers in Scotland to deliver basic first aid training to their pupils. This could be done through our network of volunteers going into schools and supported with clear, easy to digest information materials.”

The charity launched its campaign calling for first aid training in primary schools following a week of events staged across Scotland as part of National First Aid Week.

The survey commissioned by the charity also found over half (59%) of adults said they would be confident in delivering chest compressions, and 54% in delivering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Just under half (49%) said they would be able to deliver both, up from 43% last year.

Mr Callison said: “This is positive news. However, we still have some way to go to deliver a first aid-ready nation. The pressures on the NHS are continuing to rise.

“A person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest reduce by 10% with every minute that passes without CPR. With a knowledge of first aid – and the confidence to deliver it – there is the opportunity to make a real difference.”

The Scottish Government said more than 60,000 people across Scotland have been given CPR training in the last 12 months as part of a multi-agency strategy to improve the response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell said: “Our strategy aims to equip as many people as possible with these life-saving skills as well as looking at how our healthcare and emergency services can support a rapid and effective response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.”


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