Life-saving Skills in Schools

Part of Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:02 pm on 22nd November 2012.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Labour, Walsall South 2:02 pm, 22nd November 2012

I congratulate Anne Marie Morris—I hope her foot gets better—and pay tribute to my hon. Friend Julie Hilling, who had a ten-minute rule Bill on this issue in the previous Session, which sadly fell. I congratulate other Members, too, who have taken this message forward.

I am a signatory to early-day motion 550, which calls for compulsory ELS in schools. I have also undertaken a three-day course with St John Ambulance—so I know, I hope, how to save a life—and I am a member of the Health Committee. Making ELS compulsory in schools would send the message to children: “Don’t walk on the other side. You can help someone. When you see someone, you can help them.” That is an incredibly empowering message. The simple task of knowing the recovery position, or even knowing when not to move a person—for example, if they have hurt their neck—are important skills. We are saying to them, “Don’t be afraid. You can be concerned, but don’t be afraid when someone is having a heart attack or is distressed.”

There are many children with conditions such as epilepsy or even diabetes—they will have to inject themselves—and children with siblings or parents with such conditions. They will understand these conditions and be able to help. This idea is just an extension of that. The 2001 census found that 174,995 under-18s are carers. So many children already know how to look after adults. There are four simple measures: dialling 999; administering CPR; putting someone in the recovery position; or simply staying with them, holding their hand and talking to them. That can save lives, and those measures are the basis of ELS. It should be compulsory for them to be taught in schools