Every secondary school pupil in the Lothians will now be taught CPR in the classroom after Midlothian Council pledged its support to help create a nation of life savers.
The commitment means 25 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities have now promised to roll out the training, providing pupils in their area with the vital skills that could help save a life.
The nation’s heart charity British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland has welcomed the news and is now actively working with the remaining seven councils to achieve 100 per cent coverage.
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.
Those councils backing the campaign in Scotland have now pledged to work with BHF Scotland to develop a plan to ensure that every secondary pupil receives CPR training at an appropriate age in the curriculum and to work with head teachers and education officials to make it happen.
The move comes after discussions between BHF Scotland and council leaders over putting in place a systematic and sustainable model of CPR training in schools to address the nation’s poor survival rate from cardiac arrest outside of hospital.
Councillor Jim Muirhead (Lab), Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to give our young people vital, life-saving skills.
“Learning CPR will build their confidence and allow them to step-in and help someone in need.”
Daniel Jones, policy and public affairs officer, BHF Scotland, said: “This is great news for school children across the Lothians and we applaud all those councils who have now made this commitment to ensure their pupils are trained in CPR. Less than one in twelve people in Scotland survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest, partly because too few bystanders have the expertise or confidence to perform CPR. We want this to change and this is a significant step that promises to improve the odds of survival for anyone who has a cardiac arrest in the future. We are now engaged with the remaining local authorities in Scotland and look forward to achieving 100% coverage this year.”
Local authorities signed up to the campaign are Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Angus, City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, Dumfries and Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Eilean Siar, Glasgow City, Highland, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Midlothian, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, South Ayrshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian.
Commenting on the news, Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie (SNP) said: “I’m really pleased that Midlothian has now joined with other local authorities to commit to training all secondary pupils in CPR. This move will bring about significant benefits for the pupils and their local communities.
“It’s important not only because it means they could potentially help save the life of a loved one, friend or someone else in their community, but also because it gives them new skills and knowledge for life.
“I congratulate Midlothian Council for committing to this initiative and BHF Scotland for their successful campaigning on the issue.”