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CPR to be taught in all secondary schools in Scotland

The move follows a campaign by the British Heart Foundation.

Every secondary school in Scotland will give pupils training in CPR following a campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF/PA)
Every secondary school in Scotland will give pupils training in CPR following a campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF/PA)

All of Scotland’s secondary schools will teach pupils how to perform life-saving CPR after the county’s 32 local authorities committed to a new training programme.

Each year, an estimated 50,000 pupils across Scotland will learn how to resuscitate someone having a cardiac arrest, following a campaign by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

All 32 Scottish councils have now signed up to the Nation of Lifesavers campaign, less than a year since it launched.

Approximately 3,500 Scots suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac each year, according to the BHF, which said the survival rate is currently one in 12.

The chance of survival drops by up to 10% for each minute that passes without CPR and medics say thousands of lives could be saved by teaching more children how to resuscitate someone.

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A CPR training session at Lochend Community High, Glasgow.Back row: David McColgan (BHF Scotland), David McArthur (Head teacher Lochend Community High School, Glasgow), James Cant (BHF Scotland)Front row: 13-year-old pupils Michelle Robertson, Jay Hosie and Sophie Palmer

Dr Andy Lockey, the Resuscitation Council UK’s vice-president, said the scheme will reap “huge rewards” in the years to come.

“The achievements by BHF Scotland in securing such widespread support from local councils to deliver CPR training as part of their school curricula are nothing short of amazing,” he said.

“To put it simply – this could result in thousands of Scottish lives being saved.

“I firmly believe that this approach will be used in the future as a global exemplar for excellent practice.”

Glasgow City Council became the first local authority to commit to training pupils in May 2018.

On Friday, Moray, Falkirk and Fife joined the other 29 councils in pledging support to the campaign, meaning the programme will be delivered across the whole of Scotland.

David McColgan, senior policy and public affairs manager for BHF Scotland, said: “This is fantastic news.

“We are absolutely overwhelmed by the response we have received to our Nation of Lifesavers campaign and delighted to have achieved our ambition in such a short space of time.

“To do so is testament to the support we have received from Scotland’s local authorities, wanting to work together to make a difference in their communities.

“Far too many lives are lost in this country when people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital, partly because too few bystanders have the expertise or confidence to perform CPR.

“Training youngsters in school is key in helping to change this.”

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly also supported the campaign and recorded a video for BHF Scotland encouraging councils to join.

She said: “Huge congratulations to each and every one of Scotland’s 32 local councils for signing up to the British Heart Foundation’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign.

“It’s a fantastic achievement that will undoubtedly save lives.

“When someone has a cardiac arrest, time is of the essence. That’s why learning CPR and knowing what to do is absolutely vital.

“This campaign means every youngster in Scotland should leave secondary school with the skills that could help them save a life.”

Councils backing the campaign have pledged to work with BHF Scotland to ensure every secondary pupil receives CPR training at an appropriate stage in the curriculum and to work with head teachers and education officials to make it happen.

BHF Scotland has also committed to providing its CPR training kits free to schools as part of the campaign.

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