MP for North Swindon

Justin Tomlinson MP

North Swindon MP’s Personal Campaign Secures Addition Of Emergency Lifesaving Skills To Curriculum After Years Of Hard Work


A long-fought and deeply personal campaign by North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson to add the teaching of emergency lifesaving skills & first aid to the school curriculum has been successful, Education Secretary Damian Hinds has announced.

The announcement means that as soon as a child starts primary school they will be taught how to call 999 and deal with common injuries, including head injuries, while in secondary school they will learn how to administer CPR and use a defibrillator.

Securing the change is the culmination of years of campaigning by the North Swindon MP. When he was 12, Justin found his father after he had suffered a major cardiac arrest. Being the only person around, he was only able to guess what to do and stumbled through some CPR, but sadly he was unable to save him.

Since then, Justin has actively campaigned to add first aid and emergency lifesaving skills to the list of subjects students are taught at school – creating a generation of lifesavers.

There are 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year, for which the survival chances are just 12% - one of the lowest rates in the world. Each day people needlessly die because bystanders don’t have the confidence or knowledge to perform CPR and defibrillation.  For every minute without life-saving treatment the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest drops by about 10% -  meaning that the time before an ambulance arrives is crucial.

After being elected in 2010, Justin joined forces with the British Heart Foundation; backing their ‘Call, Push, Rescue’ campaign, regularly meeting Ministers, asking dozens of questions in Parliament, and leading important, well-attended, cross-party debates in the House of Commons.

He also joined former Bolton Wanderers & England footballer Francis Muamba, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during a televised FA Cup tie, to hand in a petition calling for young people to learn CPR as part of their education.

Evidence shows that in countries that already teach CPR in schools, cardiac arrest survival rates are more than double those of the UK; a key point Justin highlighted in a meeting with the Education Secretary Damian Hinds last year which helped secure the vital change to the curriculum.

The North Swindon MP has additionally pushed for changes locally; hosting a series of very popular & well-attended CPR lessons at his Community Office and joining Mark Draycott & the popular Draycott Sports Camps to highlight the important of learning these essential skills.

Schools will begin teaching Emergency Lifesaving Skills from September 2019, ahead of it becoming compulsory in all state-funded schools from September 2020.

Justin Tomlinson MP said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Education Secretary has confirmed that first aid & emergency lifesaving skills will be added to the curriculum. This has been a long-fought and deeply personal campaign for me; over the past 8 years I have raised dozens of questions in Parliament, led debates in the Commons, and relentlessly lobbied Ministers. This is a huge change that will save lives, and I am incredibly proud that this campaign has been successful.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Learning the basic skills of first aid and techniques like CPR will give young people the confidence to know that they can step in to help someone else in need and in the most extreme cases – it could potentially save a life. That’s why we took the decision to include health education alongside relationship education for primary school children and relationship and sex education for secondary children. These subjects are a crucial part of our work to ensure children learn the wider skills they need to flourish in the modern world.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “This is a decisive moment in the battle to improve cardiac arrest survival rates, following years of campaigning by the BHF and others. Introducing CPR lessons into health education in all state-funded secondary schools is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for countless people who have a cardiac arrest in the future.


Justin's campaign to add Emergency Lifesaving Skills to the Curriculum

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