5th July 2012: Andrew Brons has expressed his satisfaction at the recent success of Written Declaration 0011/2012 which called for greater awareness about cardiac arrest and more widespread training across Europe to help those suffering heart attacks.
The Written Declaration wanted to establish a European Cardiac Arrest Awareness Week and explained the reasons why:
- in Europe approximately 400 000 people suffer an out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest every year, with a survival rate of less than 10%;
- the survival of many apparently healthy victims depends on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) administered by bystanders and early defibrillation, and whereas an intervention within 3-4 minutes may increase the chance of survival to more than 50%;
- in Europe, automated external defibrillator (AED) programmes are only partially implemented;
The Written Declaration asked the Commission and the Council to encourage:
– the adoption of common programmes for implementing AED in public places and training lay people in all Member States,
– the adjustment of legislation in order to facilitate CPR and defibrillation by non-medical persons,
– systematic data collection for feedback and quality management in every programme;
It called on the Commission and the Member States to establish a European cardiac arrest awareness week aimed at improving the awareness and education of the general public, physicians and healthcare professionals;
It called on the Commission to support the Member States in adopting and implementing national strategies for equal access to high-quality CPR;
It called on the Commission and the Member States to enact harmonised legislation across the EU in order to provide immunity from liability to non-medical first responders who offer voluntary assistance in cardiac emergencies.
Andrew had signed the Written Declaration after being contacted by the Resuscitation Council of Great Britain which asked for his support.
Within the UK, the Resuscitation Council has been campaigning for Emergency Life Support (ELS) skills to be taught in all schools. In this endeavour it has received the support of the British Medical Association (BMA) which recently passed the following motion:
"That this Meeting applauds the ready availability of voluntary and statutory services for basic and advanced life support and:
- notes the call by the BMA in 1999 for resuscitation to be taught in schools;
- regrets that the teaching of resuscitation in schools is not mandatory;
- applauds the efforts of healthcare and the third sector to provide such training;
- supports the call by the Resuscitation Council and the British Heart Foundation for this to become a mandatory component of the curricula of all schools in the UK and calls on the BMA to campaign for this;
- calls for the governments to introduce the teaching of first aid in schools."
Now the Resuscitation Council wants elected politicians and the public to support their campaign and call on the Government in Westminster for ELS tuition to be included in the school curriculum – either as part of the National Curriculum review or as an addition to the current Basic Curriculum (the mandatory part of the school timetable that currently includes religious and sex education).
If you would like to help the Resuscitation Council in its campaign, please write to Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Education) and Nick Gibb MP (Minister for Schools) asking them in the light of the success of Written Declaration 0011/2012 to include Emergency Life Support (ELS) in the review of the National Curriculum or add ELS training to the Basic Curriculum.