Around 50,000 youngsters in Scotland are set to be taught CPR in the classroom every year thanks to a national campaign by British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland.
The Nation of Lifesavers campaign aims to ensure every pupil is trained in the vital skills before they leave secondary school and has been praised by international experts and medical professionals, who believe it could save thousands of additional lives.
BHF Scotland launched the campaign in 2018, urging local councils to work with them to provide the training. Today Moray, Falkirk and Fife Councils pledged to join the 29 other local authorities already signed up - meaning every single council in Scotland has committed to work with the nation’s heart charity to deliver the programme.
David McColgan, Senior Policy and Public Affairs Manager, 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.”
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The Nation of Lifesavers campaign started in May 2018 when Glasgow City Council became the first of Scotland’s 32 local authorities to commit to training pupils. In less than a year, BHF Scotland has achieved its ambition of 100 per cent coverage.
Medical professionals have praised the campaign and believe it could have a significant impact on the nation’s poor survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, where currently only one in twelve people survive.
Dr Andy Lockey, Vice President, Resuscitation Council UK, said: “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. The Resuscitation Council (UK) has proudly supported this campaign from its inception. We believe that the widespread ‘local buy-in’ will reap huge dividends in terms of survival rates in the years to come. 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.”
TV presenter Lorraine Kelly also supported the campaign and recorded a special BHF Scotland video, encouraging councils to join. Today 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. So a massive ‘thank you’ to everyone involved across Scotland for making it happen and for creating a Nation of Lifesavers.”
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There are around 3,500 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Scotland each year and for every minute without CPR, the chances of surviving drop by up to ten per cent. In countries where CPR is more widely taught, survival rates as high as 1 in 4 have been reported. International evidence has shown that in countries like Denmark, which legislated for all secondary pupils to learn CPR and adopted best practice in emergency response, survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests have tripled in recent years. Councils backing the campaign have pledged to work with BHF Scotland to develop a plan to ensure that 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 is also providing its Call Push Rescue CPR training kits free to schools as part of the campaign.
To find out more about CPR, visit www.bhf.org.uk/cpr