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England enters crucial week to help save lives says first aid fan Bob Russell MP

8 April 2013

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Henry Makiwa /
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England enters crucial week to help save lives, says “first aid fan” Bob Russell MP

Sir Bob Russell, MP for Colchester has urged fellow politicians and members of the public alike, to support the British Red Cross’ campaign to get life saving skills on the schools curricula.

With the government’s public consultation review on the national curriculum coming to a close on 16th April, the week ahead is the last window for most people to safeguard the status of first aid in education.

“Simply put, including first aid in the schools curricula would save hundreds, if not thousands of lives every year. It will also produce savings to the national health service of hundreds of millions of pounds and result in a better quality of life for all throughout the land,” Sir Bob who also heads the All Party Parliamentary Group for First Aid, said.

“Alongside the important saving of lives, first-aid training would also reduce visits to overstretched accident and emergency departments by people whose injuries did not warrant hospital attention. Likewise, it would reduce visits to doctors' surgeries if people with first aid skills could more easily deal with such minor matters at home; or at their place of work. I urge my fellow MPs and members of the public to back this worthy campaign by the British Red Cross,” he continued.

More than 10,000 people have already signed the Pupil, Citizen, Life-saver e-campaign urging their MP to take action. As a result, 126 MPs have signed an early day motion (EDM), tabled by Sir Bob, urging the Government to make first aid studies mandatory in the classroom. This puts the motion 9th out of almost 1,300 in a list of parliament’s most backed motions.

Joe Mulligan, the British Red Cross head of first aid, said: “It’s great so many people agree that our children should learn about these vital topics. But we still need more signatures and support.  This is what we need in order for politicians to sit up and take note of the support our nation have for first aid education. Let’s make the most of this rare chance to build a generation of life-saving, global citizens.”

So far, the government has failed to include any mention of first aid education in the draft plans for the new schools curriculum. Worryingly, only 20 per cent of secondary school students in England and Wales say they have learned life-saving skills in the classroom and just 4 per cent of them would step up to help someone needing first aid assistance, according to an ICM poll in January.



Notes to editors

- For first aid tips, photos, multimedia materials and spokespeople, please contact Henry Makiwa or 020 7877 7479

- Also find pics on this link. While a video with an embed code may be accessed here.

- Also see our People Citizenship Life Saver Campaign and resources at
- Our research and experience shows that with the right resources, teachers can teach first aid in classes, even if they are not trained. The vast majority of Britain's teachers (83 per cent) and parents (98 per cent) want first aid to become part of the curriculum, just 18 per cent of primary schools in the UK offer pupils the chance to learn these skills. More stats here.

British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.