NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Every school pupil in Scotland to be taught CPR

Child learning CPR Image copyright PA
Image caption Children have been learning CPR using dummies

Every school pupil in Scotland is to be taught vital life-saving skills in a bid to cut the death toll among people who suffer a cardiac arrest.

About 50,000 young people will receive the training each year which it is hoped could save thousands of lives.

The British Heart Foundation had launched a campaign in 2018, urging local councils to work with them.

Moray, Falkirk and Fife councils have now pledged to join the 29 other local authorities already signed up.

It is thought about 3,500 people a year in Scotland suffer a cardiac arrest away from hospital.

Only about one in 12 of them survive.

"He gave me the best chance to survive"

Image caption Doreen McClelland-Jones believes she may have died had it not been for Douglas Reid

Douglas Reid is a mechanic at a garage in Elgin, Moray, where Doreen McClelland-Jones brought her car three years ago.

She took seriously ill just after she arrived.

Mr Reid said: "She just did not look well and she stumbled into the office."

She suffered a cardiac arrest, but Mr Reid - a retained firefighter - had first aid training, including resuscitation to restart the heart.

'May not be here'

He recalled: "Her face was turning blue so I knew straight away we had to get CPR and chest compressions on as fast as possible."

A colleague called 999 while Mr Reid continued chest compressions.

Mrs McClelland-Jones said: "If it wasn't for Douglas reacting so quickly, I may not be here today.

"He knew exactly what to do and gave me the best chance to survive the cardiac arrest."

In other countries where young people have been trained to deliver CPR, the survival rate from cardiac arrests has significantly increased.

David McColgan, from BHF Scotland, said: "We will eventually create a scenario where it's the norm to be trained in CPR.

"Survival rates in Scotland will increase because of that."

He added: "We are absolutely overwhelmed by the response we have received to our Nation of Lifesavers campaign and delighted to have achieved our ambition in such a short space of time.

"To do so is testament to the support we have received from Scotland's local authorities, wanting to work together to make a difference in their communities.

"Far too many lives are lost in this country when people suffer a cardiac arrest out of hospital, partly because too few bystanders have the expertise or confidence to perform CPR. Training youngsters in school is key in helping to change this."

One pupil at Lochend Community High school in Glasgow who has been taking part said: "I am getting the skills in case it does happen."

It will be up to schools to decide at what age pupils undertake the training.

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