Public given chance to learn and test their life-saving skills at hospital's CPR day

Members of the public will be able to test and improve their life-saving skills as part of a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) awareness event at Southampton General Hospital on Tuesday (18 October).

The resuscitation services team at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with South Central Ambulance Service, will offer training and advice on how to perform the technique on babies, children and adults.

The event forms part of Restart a Heart Day, which was introduced to help increase the number of young people trained and able to perform life-saving CPR for people who have suffered a cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart stops pumping blood around the body.

Led nationally by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Resuscitation Council UK, British Red Cross and St John Ambulance, the initiative aims to support organisations to train as many people as possible – particularly school and college students – at locations throughout the UK on the day.

More than 30,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of hospital in the UK every year, with a survival rate of less than 10% – compared to 25% in parts of Norway and other European countries where CPR is taught in schools.

The BHF estimates around 2% of young people currently receive CPR training at secondary school – around 5% in total with those who receive CPR via first aid courses – and is campaigning to see more young people learn the skill.

At Southampton General, as well as opportunities for visitors on the day, resuscitation officers and paramedics will hold dedicated CPR sessions for A-level students from Taunton’s College and year six pupils from South Baddesley Primary School.

The resus team provides education and training for staff throughout Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals, as well as external individuals and organisations, and also responds to emergency calls across the trust if a person experiences a sudden collapse or if a hospital patient suffers a deterioration in their condition.

Staff in the team will also use the event to highlight their collaboration with LifeLab, a pioneering education facility developed jointly by UHS and the University of Southampton to improve health and science awareness for 11 to 18 year olds through hands-on learning in a hospital-based classroom.

In addition to offering students the chance to find out more about how diet and lifestyle choices at an early age can affect long-term health and a chance to carry out experiments, the LifeLab programme provides CPR as part of practical education sessions.

UHS resuscitation officers and LifeLab staff have trained 1,519 school students – mainly aged 13 and 14 – in CPR since November 2013. Only half of those who completed the training had received CPR training prior to the course.

“We are really looking forward to the opportunity to meet, talk to and work with visitors of all ages during Restart a Heart Day and help them to learn about CPR, improve their techniques and understand the value of being able to save a life,” said Iain Penberthy, a resuscitation officer at UHS.

“It will also be a great chance for us to highlight the success of our CPR training programme for young people in collaboration with LifeLab, something which has really transformed the availability of and access to CPR training for school and college students in the city and its surrounding areas.”

The Restart a Heart event will take place in the main entrance at Southampton General Hospital on Tuesday (18 October) from 9am until 3pm.

Posted on Friday 14 October 2016