South West MPs have backed a fellow MP’s call for first-aid skills to be taught in schools.
Anne Marie Morris (Conservative, Newton Abbott) opened a backbench-led debate, saying skills would include learning how to perform CPR, place victims in the recovery position and clear an airway before paramedics or doctors arrived.
Tory MP Justin Tomlinson (North Swindon) told the Commons that better first-aid training could have saved his father’s life, adding that training could be added to PE, biology or PSHE lessons – so long as it was added to the curriculum.
“I was in this position with my own father. Aged 12, my father collapsed, my attempts to help were at best muddled, passers-by then helped, and we all rely on people having that confidence to make a difference.”
Labour’s Alison Seabeck (Plymouth, Moor View) said she had used her first-aid training on several occasions.
She told MPs: “It is people’s lack of knowledge which stops them doing even the basic checks.”
Ms Morris said Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest and subsequent recovery show why schools should teach first-aid skills.
Muamba collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup match against Tottenham Hotspur in March, but survived after immediate medical help.
The near-tragedy sparked calls for youngsters to learn emergency life-saving skills as part of the National Curriculum – and Ms Morris said that knowing what to do would be popular with youngsters.
“The moment when this became front and foremost in everyone’s thinking was when Fabrice Muamba very tragically collapsed on the pitch and, but for an individual coming on to the pitch who had those skills, he may not have survived as well as he has done.”
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