The first resuscitation I ever attended, over 16 years ago as a trainee technician, was in a hairdressers shop, and I won’t ever forget it. I think most paramedics remember the first time they ever had to administer CPR for real but this wasn’t the reason I remember it. A man in his 50’s had collapsed after standing up from the chair and had been unconscious and not breathing for about 7 minutes prior to our arrival. We arrived and immediately started Advanced Life Support. Whilst getting a history from the other people in the shop, the owner said “Will he be okay? I did CPR on my last first aid course recently you know, but I was too scared to do it”. I realised there and then
that life-saving skills, or lack of them, in this Country was, and still is, a cultural issue.
Fast forward to 2019 and in the UK we have around a 8.6% chance of surviving a cardiac arrest out of hospital. With a bystander stepping in and delivering CPR the chance of survival can be increased by 5 times. As a Nation it is up to us to take responsibility and step up, regardless of age, profession or gender etc. In Scandinavia chances of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest are nearer 56%. In these Countries first aid and life-saving skills are taught to children from pre-school, throughout the education system and they cannot graduate high-school without completing a CPR test. It is also essential, in some areas to pass a CPR test in conjunction with driving tests and often as part of a job interview. We need similar initiatives in the UK.
At Tumbles and Grumbles we decided to make positive steps towards changing this and developed our Little Rescuers programme in 2016 teaching pre and primary school children first aid and life-saving skills through fun, play, music and team-work. The Bill to make CPR compulsory in English schools from 2020 has now been passed and we are on the right path to increasing our national survival rates.