East Anglia: Too few people trained in basic first aid

A HARD-HITTING campaign has been launched to get more people trained in basic first aid after a new survey showed that people in East Anglia lacked sufficient life-saving skills.

A survey carried out on behalf of St John Ambulance revealed that people in the region were going to great lengths to improve their chances against cancer but less than a fifth knew even the most basic first aid measures.

Almost two-fifths of those questioned said they were making changes to their diet to combat the risk of cancer, while significant numbers were stopping smoking and taking more exercise to reduce risks of the disease.

But St John Ambulance said it was a very different story when it came to first aid, with less than one in five taking up training in the skills that could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

Sue Killen, St John Ambulance chief executive, said: “Cancer is a serious disease, which kills tens of thousands of people each year.

“When a loved one has cancer, although we do all we can to support them, over three-quarters of people are consumed by a feeling of helplessness.

“In situations where first aid could help save a life we don’t have to feel helpless, because learning life-saving skills is so simple.

Most Read

“That is why it is so concerning that fewer than one in five of us knows even basic first aid.

“This has got to change if we are to stop up to 140,000 lives from being needlessly lost each year.”

To highlight this new startling comparison, the charity has unveiled a hard-hitting campaign which seeks to encourage more people to take training in basic first aid skills.

The 60-second film, which premiered yesterday evening during ITV1’s Downton Abbey, follows the journey of a man who is diagnosed with cancer, undergoes treatment, and survives only to die as a result of choking at a family gathering because no-one knows the simple first aid that could have saved his life.

Martin Ledwick, Cancer Research UK’s head cancer information nurse, added: “Encouragingly, cancer survival rates have significantly improved over the past 40 years.

“Research has led to better diagnosis and improved treatments, all helping to save lives.

“This campaign highlights that more people are surviving cancer than ever before but that accidents can happen at any time to anyone.

“We’re pleased to be supporting the campaign to encourage everyone to learn the first aid basics.”

For details visit www.sja.org.uk