accessibility & help

MPs join our call to allow everyone to learn first aid

7 September 2016

Over 40 MPs attended a parliamentary event hosted by the British Red Cross and Will Quince MP on Tuesday, championing greater opportunities to learn first aid.

The event coincided with the launch of new research that shows that up to 59 per cent of deaths from injury may have been prevented had first aid been carried out before the arrival of the emergency medical services.

The research, commissioned by the British Red Cross and conducted by the University of Manchester, showed how there is a window of opportunity between dialling 999 and the arrival of the emergency medical services where two simple first aid actions could save someone’s life.

These are:

  • turning someone on their side and tilting their head back to open their airway
  • applying pressure to a heavy bleed to help stem the flow of blood.

In light of these findings, we have launched our Don’t stop at 999 campaign. The aim is to equip more people with these life-saving skills and call for more opportunities for people to learn first aid – starting at school but also through the driving test and public health initiatives.

The event

In attendance were MPs from a range of parties and constituencies across the UK. There were also some members from the House of Lords.

Speeches were given by Anne McColl, Director of education at the Red Cross and Will Quince MP, who hosted the event. Teresa Pearce MP also spoke about her long-standing support for first aid to be taught in schools.

MPs also had the chance to learn the two simple first aid skills. Many pledged support for giving the public more opportunities to learn the confidence and skills to help save a life.

Will Quince MP (Conservative, Colchester) said:

“It is quite shocking that people are dying when their lives could potentially have been saved through simple actions. This highlights a serious need for our population to be more widely educated in first aid.

“I fully support the Red Cross’ calls for first aid education to be mandatory in schools and as part of the driving test, something that I already proposed through a 10-minute rule bill in Parliament last March. Let’s hope more progress can be made with this latest research.”

Anne McColl added:

"At the Red Cross we have a vision of a society where we all have the basic lifesaving skills, the confidence and the willingness to step in to help someone in crisis. A society where everyone is ready to save a life, not just the trained few."

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