We all know that First Aid can save lives and if we know this why is the government apparently so reluctant to ensure that as many people as possible have first aid skills?
The Bill to ensure that first aid becomes part of the school curriculum has sadly been dropped but there is now a call for first aid training to become a mandatory part of the driving licence. Tory MP Will Quince believes all new drivers should have to undergo the training before they are granted a licence in a move which he, and I, believe has the potential to save lives.
At the moment The Highway Code contains just one page on first-aid techniques, but in other European countries such as Germany, Austria, Hungary and Switzerland first-aid training is compulsory before a driving licence is granted. In fact in Switzerland learner drivers are required to prove they have received 10 hours of certified first aid training in order to qualify for a driving theory test.
So how come these countries are so much more savvy than we are when it comes to First Aid. In the UK road accidents kill around 3200 people each year. There is no doubt that many unnecessary road deaths every year could be avoided if those who were ‘first on scene’ had basic lifesaving first aid skills.
Recently my 22 year old son, who had only a few weeks before attended a Safe and Sound Emergency First Aid Course, was the ‘first on scene’ in a road accident. He was jogging back from the gym when a child got knocked down by a car.
“I never thought that I would have to call on my first aid so soon after my course,” he said. “Nobody knew what to do and there was a lot of confusion. I remembered what our trainer had told us to do. Make sure you are not in any danger, ask everyone to stand back, check to see if the child is breathing, ask someone to call an ambulance, and talk to the child to reassure him.”
Luckily that was all he needed to do as the child was just a bit dazed but he stayed with the child until the ambulance arrived. Would he have known what to do if the child had stopped breathing?
“I think I would but I probably wouldn’t have done anything had I not been on a first aid course as I wouldn’t have felt confident to take charge.”
It is no secret that ambulance waiting times have increased and the time between an accident and the arrival of the emergency services is critical. If you can apply basic first-aid skills at the scene, lives may be saved and the severity of injuries reduced
Mr Quince thinks the Bill would make a significant difference to the UK population’s knowledge of first aid.
“Around 63% of the population aged between 21 and 29 have a driving licence. If that figures remains steady, within around 13 years, this proposal would have helped to ensure nearly two thirds of the people under the age of 30 in Britain would be potential life savers.”
He is advocating a four hour practical first aid course run by an approved provider as the minimum requirement.
“Put simply, this change will give many more British people the chance to learn life-saving skills and potentially save a life,” said Mr Quince.
How reassuring would it be to know that the person in the street walking by you would know what to do if you collapsed and stopped breathing?