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Health / Shetland pupils to be taught life saving CPR in school

OVER 1,000 Shetland secondary pupils will be taught potentially life saving CPR after Shetland Islands Council education committee signed up for a national programme on Monday.

The commitment, which will lead to islands youngsters being trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), means 29 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have now promised to provide pupils with the vital skills that could help save a life.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland has welcomed the news and is now engaging the remaining three councils – Falkirk, Fife and Moray – to achieve 100 per cent coverage.

In countries where CPR is more widely taught, survival rates as high as 1 in 4 have been reported. In Denmark, which legislated for all secondary pupils to learn CPR, survival rates for out of hospital cardiac arrests tripled.

There are around 3,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Scotland each year but the survival rate is just one in 12 and for every minute without CPR, the chances of surviving drop by up to ten per cent.

Councils backing the campaign have pledged to work with BHF Scotland to ensure every secondary pupil receives CPR training at an appropriate age and to work with head teachers and education officials to make it happen.

Education and families chairman George Smith.

That follows discussions between BHF Scotland and council leaders over putting in place a systematic and sustainable model of CPR training in schools. 

SIC education and families committee chairman Councillor George Smith said: “Shetland Islands Council are delighted to be working in partnership with the British Heart Foundation to help build a Nation of Lifesavers.

“Many of our schools already deliver CPR training through a variety of means; however, I am pleased that all of our schools have now accessed the British Heart Foundation’s free CPR training kits and that CPR training will now be incorporated into the curriculum in Shetland Islands Council.

“All of our secondary school pupils will now receive CPR training and they will be awarded with a recognition that they have become part of the Nation of Lifesavers”.

BHF Scotland policy officer Daniel Jones said: “This is fantastic news. It means we are within touching distance of our aim of having every local authority in Scotland committed to training their pupils in CPR.

“Less than one in twelve people survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest in the country, partly because too few bystanders have the expertise or confidence to perform CPR. We are now engaged with the remaining local authorities and look forward to them joining our campaign to create a nation of life savers.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021