7 March 2009
BRCS / Victoria WoodThe Red Cross first aid learning team in Bristol has won an Excellence Award for its project teaching first aid skills to injecting drug users.
The award, which hundreds of Red Cross groups across the country had applied for, recognises the valuable way the Bristol team works in partnership with South Gloucestershire Drug and Alcohol Service. It will provide funding for the team to spread the project to other areas.
As one of the most vulnerable groups in community, drug users are at significant risk of death through overdose. they often lead chaotic lifestyles, which prevents them from learning the life-saving skills they need to reduce this risk. The Bristol project recognises that training this group requires a different approach from that of standard first aid courses
The bespoke first aid course takes only one or two hours and is delivered in a less structured way than other first aid courses. With subsidised travel, expenses and naloxine (a drug that can be administered to restore conciseness in the event of overdose) also on offer, the team succeeds in movitivating clients to attend.
A team of Red Cross staff, South Gloucestershire Drug and Alcohol Service outreach workers and local primary trust professionals deliver the project. It teaches clients CPR
and the recovery position
. It also helps boost their confidence and Naloxone is also prescribed. The project has so far trained more than 70 active drug users and two lives have been saved as a result.
Kathryn Clements, senior co-ordinator for first aid learning, says: “I am so pleased that our partnership project has been recognised, not only one of best practice but also because it highlights the impact it has made on the highly marginalised community of people we have worked with.
"I also hope that, by promoting the project to Red Cross staff and volunteers and external agencies across the UK, this won't be a one-off piece of work. It may inspire others to develop similar ways in which we can reach more vulnerable people with first aid learning.”
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