McGrath Brings In CPR Training Bill At NI Assembly

McGrath says CPR training for post-secondary pupils will save lives

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McGrath says CPR training for post-secondary pupils will save lives

SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath has said his bill to ensure that every secondary school student is taught CPR will save lives. 

Mr McGrath was speaking after the second stage of his Education (Curriculum) (CPR and AED) Bill in the Assembly on Monday. 

The bill would also provide students with automated external defibrillator training. Deputy Leader of the SDLP and Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon MLA, also took time to come and talk to the girls about COP26 and reducing CO2 emissions in public transport as well as sharing her experiences in her role as a Minister.

Colin McGrath (SDLP MLA) invited St. Mary’s High School students from Year 13 to meet with the British Heart Foundation and receive training on CPR. This was in anticipation for a new law to make CPR compulsory for school children as part of the NI curriculum. (Photo courtesy of St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick.)

South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:  “There are many important pieces of legislation passing through the Assembly at the minute – but few of them will have the potential to directly save someone’s life. I am delighted my bill has reached the second stage and that it received the support of my fellow MLAs.

“Every year in the North around 1,400 people suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting and shockingly less than one in ten survive. If we equip every young person with these skills then we would greatly increase the number of people in our society who could appropriately intervene if they are present when a cardiac arrest occurs. 

“Being present when someone suffers a medical emergency is scary – many people freeze and don’t know what to do and this bill would give people the confidence to act. We have seen in a number of high-profile incidents recently how important early intervention is when someone suffers a cardiac arrest.

“Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces a person’s chances of survival by up to 10% and survival rates are higher in places where more people are trained to perform CPR and are willing to intervene. 

“I feel passionately that this bill would make a real difference to people’s chances of survival in the North. The response to our consultation showed that 94% of people thought CPR training should be compulsory and 98% felt the government had a responsibility to ensure training is provided.

“It only takes a short time to learn how to perform CPR and operate a defibrillator, but for someone who suffers a cardiac arrest it could mean the difference between life and death.”