MP for Delyn, Rob Roberts and Welsh Conservative colleagues from both Westminster and the Senedd, have jointly signed a letter calling on the Welsh Education Minister to make the teaching of CPR, and other lifesaving skills, compulsory in the new Curriculum for Wales.
Rob Roberts, Member of Parliament for Delyn, is spearheading a new national campaign to get Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other lifesaving skills taught in all Welsh secondary schools, following a recent constituency surgery meeting with the family and friends of Janene Maguire – who sadly passed away following a cardiac arrest. Rob is also joined by Welsh Conservative Members of Parliament and Members of the Senedd in supporting this important campaign.
Janene Maguire was a loving wife and mother of three children, based in Gwernymynydd, Mold, who unexpectedly passed away after collapsing and having a cardiac arrest in February 2000. Sadly, nearly two decades later, Cara, one of Janene’s daughters, suffered from the same condition which caused her to have a sudden cardiac arrest in August 2020. Luckily, Cara was with her friend Michael, a former soldier trained in first aid, who was able to perform CPR until paramedics arrived – essentially saving her life. Without the knowledge of this life saving skill, it is likely that Cara would not be here today.
Following these tragic events, the friends and family of Janene launched a local campaign aiming to get all UK schools to teach CPR and other lifesaving skills – so another family wouldn’t have to go through the same heartbreak and loss. After meeting recently with Rob, the campaign has now gone national and today, the Welsh Conservatives group has written to the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams MS, calling on her to make the teaching of CPR compulsory in all Welsh secondary schools.
The teaching of CPR in Welsh schools has always been a priority for the Welsh Conservatives, and was included in the most recent Welsh Conservative manifesto as well as being a personal priority for Shadow Education Minister, Suzy Davies MS.
With the UK Government making the teaching of essential first aid skills such as CPR compulsory in English schools last September, as well as every Scottish Local Authority committing to CPR being taught in all Scottish schools, Wales is now falling behind other nations in the UK in delivering quality education which will give pupils the necessary skills to face the real world and help in future medical emergencies.
Sadly, there are around 30,000 “out of hospital” cardiac arrests each year across the UK – so it is vital skills like CPR are taught in order to help save lives. Evidence suggests if all young people are trained with lifesaving CPR skills, nearly 1 in 4 could survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest. In other countries where CPR has been taught in schools for many years, cardiac arrest survival rates are more than double those of the UK – with Norway’s survival rates being as high as 25%.
Commenting on the campaign, Rob said:
“I was astonished when I spoke to the family and friends of Janene that this wasn’t already a compulsory aspect of school life. I certainly remember doing lessons in CPR during my time at Ysgol Maes Garmon. I can even remember the classroom that the lessons were in, such was the emphasis that my teachers placed on the importance of the skills.
“When I investigated the issue, it seems that it was made compulsory in England recently and now we need to push for it to be mirrored in Wales in order to minimise the chances of other families having to go through the devastating situation that the Maguires and others across the country have to suffer when these tragedies occur.”
Paul Davies MS added:
“The loss of a loved one is devastating with a lasting impact on the rest of our lives. To know that their death could have been prevented only compounds that grief.
“It is essential that we do all we can to make sure that we give people the confidence and skills to carry-out lifesaving actions such as CPR.
“CPR is not a complex method but many people I know feel they need the confidence to do it. By teaching CPR in schools, the next generation will have the skills and confidence to use CPR when it is needed. They can also help the wider community to learn CPR, encouraging family members and friends to sign up to a short course.
“Hopefully, by having CPR in schools we can do all we can to prevent tragic loss of life that affects us all.”
With the new Curriculum for Wales being developed and prepared to be implemented in schools from September 2022, it is now the ideal time for the inclusion of CPR into the curriculum. It is crucial that the Welsh Government take notice of this campaign and move to include the teaching of CPR and other lifesaving skills in all secondary schools in Wales as it is imperative that more people are taught CPR if we want to help save more lives.
Rob and his Welsh Conservative colleagues will continue to press the Welsh Government to make sure these essential skills are taught in schools across Wales for the benefit of all Welsh students and in memory of Janene Maguire.
For further information on this campaign, visit here.