Sir George joined the ‘Nation of Lifesavers’ campaign to save 5,000 lives when he attended a demonstration of lifesaving at the House of Commons
"More than 30,000 people suffer an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the UK every year – 80% of which occur in the home, often in front of family members and loved ones.
But fewer than one in ten people survive3, partly because not enough people have the skills and confidence to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)."
The British Heart Foundation says that the Nation of Lifesavers initiative could save around 5,000 additional lives a year in the UK, based on survival rates in countries like Norway (25%)4 where CPR training is mandatory in schools.
The BHF is calling for CPR and public access defibrillator (PAD) awareness to be taught in all secondary schools and a recent survey showed 82%5 of people would be behind this move.
Since the launch of the campaign on October 16, more than 5,000 people have already signed the petition to make these skills part of the curriculum.
Today, Sir George has pledged his support for the Nation of Lifesavers campaign and called on secondary schools and community groups in North west Hants to order their free Call Push Rescue Training Kit.
“Cardiac arrest survival rates in the UK fall way behind survival rates in other countries where CPR training is part of the curriculum.
“By joining the Nation of Lifesavers I want to see every child in the UK finish school equipped with the necessary skills to respond in a medical emergency.
“CPR is an important skill and just 30 minutes of training could save someone’s life.”
Sir George was joined by Samantha Hobbs, who at 14 helped to save her mum’s life by performing CPR. With her dad, they kept her mum alive until the emergency services arrived and could get her heart beating again with a single electric shock from a defibrillator.
Samantha had been trained in CPR so she knew what to do. Now she’s campaigning to raise awareness amongst others so that more people are trained and more lives can be saved.
Samantha said: “I was only able to help save my mum’s life because I’d been trained in CPR. I don’t know what might have happened if I hadn’t. We’re really pleased to be able to support the BHF’s Nation of Lifesavers campaign and spread the message about the importance of CPR. I hope more lives are saved.”
On October 16, the BHF trained nearly 12,000 schoolchildren at the launch of a new CPR training programme which is free for schools to register for.
The innovative training programme enables schools, workplaces, and community groups to become completely self-sufficient in teaching the three simple steps that could save a life: Call. Push. Rescue.
Simon Gillespie, BHF Chief Executive, said: “Too many lives are lost needlessly because people don’t have the basic CPR skills to act in life-threatening situations.
“We’re determined to radically improve the country’s shocking survival rates and mandatory training in secondary schools will go a long way towards that.
“We need every school, workplace, community group and individual to join the Nation of Lifesavers and help make the UK a safer place to live.”
To help the BHF create a Nation of Lifesavers visit bhf.org.uk/lifesavers and sign our petition at bhf.org.uk/cprpetition
For more information please the BHF press office on 020 7554 0164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
1. BHF estimate over 30,000 cardiac arrests outside of hospital a year where the emergency medical services attempt to resuscitate the victim. Detailed statistics are currently only available for England.
2. BHF estimate based on North East Cardiac Arrest Network - NECAN (2013), Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Registry 2012 and London Ambulance Service (2013), Cardiac Arrest Annual Report: 2012/13
3. BHF estimates on available data in England (8.6%) www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/stasistical-work-areas/ambulance-quality-indicators/.
4. Lindner TW, Soreide E, Nilsen OB, Torunn MW, Lossius HM. Good outcome in every fourth resuscitation attempt is achievable. Resuscitation 2011; 82:1508-13.
5. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,072 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th-14th September 2014. The survey was conducted online. All figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (age 18+).
Additional key statistics:
• The majority of the UK public (61%) would not feel confident performing CPR on a family member or loved one, despite being most likely to see a cardiac arrest at home
• Almost half (46%) would be deterred by the ‘fear of causing more harm than good’
• Four in ten (40%) people lack the knowledge and skills to act
• Nearly three in five (57%) people admit that most people in Britain would look for someone else to take the lead if they were to witness a medical emergency
• Almost half (44%) thought cardiac arrest and heart attack were different terms to describe the same condition
• More than one in ten (11%) have never heard of the term CPR
• Over four in ten (43%) wrongly thought that CPR becomes is effective for only up to15 minutes
British Heart Foundation
For over 50 years we’ve pioneered research that’s transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Our work has been central to the discoveries of vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease. But so many people still need our help. From babies born with life-threatening heart problems to the many Mums, Dads and Grandparents who survive a heart attack and endure the daily battles of heart failure. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, minute of your time and donation to our shops will help make a difference to people’s lives. For more information visit bhf.org.uk.