Essex: MP first aid idea said to have “a lot of merit”

MP Sir Bob Russell

MP Sir Bob Russell - Credit: Andrew Partridge

An Essex MP’s campaign to make first aid training part of the school curriculum in a bid to reduce unnecessary visits to overstretched Accident and Emergency departments was said to have “a lot of merit” by health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Colchester MP Bob Russell, who has raised the proposal on a number of occasions and put forward an unsuccessful bill under the last government, said that the plans would create one million qualified first aiders within a generation.

Responding to his question, Mr Hunt said: “We do need more young people to know the basics of first aid, and that can be extremely important—even life-saving.”

But he said that the Government also needed to ensure that the NHS was there when it was needed, 24/7,

The exchange came in a deabte following a government announcement about plans for the winter, which detailed how it would allocate £250 million of funding for NHS England on Tuesday.

Mr Hunt told Sir Bob that the Government needed to make some important changes to the way in which A and E departments operate, in both the short term and the long term.

The Liberal Democrat MP is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary First Aid Group.

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HE put forward an unsuccessful bill under the last government to make First Aid part of the school curriculum.

He said his campaign to make first aid training part of the curriculum is supported by St John Ambulance and British Red Cross.

Sir Bob told fellow MPs that he recently spent the whole of a night shift, from Friday evening through to Saturday morning, in the Accident and Emergency Department at Colchester General Hospital.

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