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MP backs calls to get CPR taught in secondary schools

PUBLISHED: 14:58 13 March 2015 | UPDATED: 14:58 13 March 2015

MP Teresa Pearce

MP Teresa Pearce

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Parliamentary debate told of British Heart Foundation campaign

Teresa Pearce MP for Erith and Thamesmead took the fight for every heartbeat direct to Westminster this week by championing getting life-saving CPR taught in secondary schools in a parliamentary debate.

More than 80,000 people across the UK have backed a British Heart Foundation (BHF) campaign to create a Nation of Lifesavers by making CPR and public access defibrillator awareness a mandatory part of secondary education.

The charity says by ensuring every young person is taught this vital skill it could radically improve survival rates from cardiac arrest.

The issue was the focus of a 90-minute Westminster Hall debate in which MPs also challenged the Department of Education to commit to the cause.

The BHF’s petition was later formally presented to the speaker of the House of Commons.

A British Heart Foundation spokesman said: “When someone has a cardiac arrest every second counts. Without help, the person will die within minutes, but effective and immediate CPR can help double the chances of survival in some cases.

“Knowing how to perform CPR is the most important life lesson any child could learn. For every schoolchild who leaves education without that vital skill it’s another opportunity missed to help save a life.

“Over 80,000 people have backed our campaign. We urge the Government to act on the public’s clear call and help us create a Nation of Lifesavers.”

Teresa Pearce MP said in the debate: “There is currently no mandatory requirement of teaching about CPR—first aid—or public access defibrillators in the national curriculum in England. That is denying generations of young people the opportunity to develop life-saving skills that would benefit everyone.

“Many people say that even if it was for a loved one, they would be reluctant to get involved because they would not know what to do. Teaching people CPR and defibrillator awareness in secondary schools would alleviate that fear. Young people would leave school with knowledge that could save a friend, a loved one or a stranger.

“I urge the Minister to take on board all the comments that have been made today and to take affirmative action to ensure that CPR and defibrillator awareness are a mandatory part of the national curriculum for the benefit of us all.”

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