First aid training for nursery staff 'to be made compulsory'

Millie Thompson Image copyright Other
Image caption Millie Thompson choked on her lunch at her nursery

Training in paediatric first aid will be a legal requirement for nursery staff in England under government plans announced following a baby's death.

Nine-month-old Millie Thompson, of Stockport, fatally choked on her lunch at Ramillies Hall School and Nursery in Cheadle Hulme, in October 2012.

A review was conducted after an e-petition was set up by Millie's mother Joanne.

She said she was "so proud" the change would be her "daughter's legacy".

Childcare and education minister Sam Gyimah announced the proposals.

He said: "Today's proposals will mean that thousands more staff will be able to respond to emergencies more quickly, making sure parents really can access the very best possible childcare choices for their families."

Mrs Thompson told BBC Radio Manchester she cried when she heard the news.

"It is absolutely fantastic," she said. "We have had so much support from the public for the past 15 months that it is crazy it wasn't in place in the first place.

"We are proud that these changes are being made in memory of our precious daughter and that her legacy continues to grow - but we are heartbroken that these changes are only coming into place because we lost her."

'Exposed a loophole'

More than 102,000 people signed Mrs Thompson's online petition calling for a change in the law.

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter (Liberal Democrat), who held a Westminster Hall debate in parliament, said he was delighted with this "massive step in the right direction".

He said: "Out of the tragedy of losing Millie, [her parents] have exposed a loophole in the regulations that not all relevant nursery staff had to have a qualification in paediatric first aid."

He paid tribute to Millie's parents saying they had "done a sterling job" for a "very important cause".

An inquest at Oldham Magistrates' Court heard Millie started coughing and crying in a high chair while being fed shepherd's pie from a supervisor whose basic first aid certificate had expired.

The supervisor passed Millie to a colleague who had paediatric first aid training and gave the baby back slaps. But, shortly after paramedics arrived, Millie suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.

South Manchester coroner John Pollard returned a verdict of misadventure and said no-one was to blame.

He said paediatric first aid training for all nursery staff was "a matter of national importance".

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