A proposal from SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath to have CPR and defibrillator training become mandatory in post-primary schools has been introduced.
Mr McGrath introduced a bill on the issue in the Assembly, but withdrew it after his proposals were accepted by Education Minister Michelle McIlveen.
He said the inclusion of CPR and defibrillator training on the school curriculum would save lives.
South Down MLA Mr McGrath said:
“I introduced this bill because I believed it had the power to save lives and I’m delighted to see my proposal added to the school curriculum today. After learning how bleak the outlook was for someone who suffered a cardiac arrest in a non-hospital setting, I realised that we needed to do something to give people a better chance of survival and to equip people to help.
“The best way to ensure that future generations are trained to assist in case of an emergency is by introducing this training for everyone in schools. Currently around 1,400 people suffer a cardiac arrest each year in the North outside of hospital, shockingly less than one in ten survive. If every person was trained to provide help and support I truly believe we can change this figure for the better.
“As part of my bill I engaged with the health and education sectors and the general public and the plans received overwhelming support. Such was the backing for this important training that the Minister decided to introduce it herself, forgoing the need for the legislative process.
“The introduction of the training follows on from SDLP Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon’s announcement of 134 new defibrillators at bus and train stations across the North. With these new machines in place our young people will now have both the tools and the expertise to intervene when necessary and save lives.”