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Lifesaving lessons for Schools - 1st aid to be added to the School curriculum after 10 years of campaigning

AHEAD of World 1st Aid Day on Saturday the charity is encouraging everyone to learn lifesaving skills by downloading its ground breaking 1st aid app. For the very 1st time, School children across England will learn lifesaving skills as part of the School curriculum, a monumental moment after 10 years of campaigning by the British Red Cross and partners.

Concerning new research reveals that 21% of children polled in the North West have experienced a situation where someone needed 1st aid, but 56% of children said they would feel helpless to act if they witnessed an accident and someone was injured. The research is being released by the British Red Cross ahead of World 1st Aid Day and to coincide with the launch of the pilot of 1st aid in Schools. 90% of children agreed that knowing 1st aid skills would make them feel more confident to help in a 1st aid emergency; highlighting how learning 1st aid will empower young people and help to create a generation of lifesavers.

The poll also shows:-

93% of children in the North West agreed that learning how to save a life is 1 of the most important lessons they could learn at School.

98% of parents of 5 to 18 year olds in the North West surveyed back children learning 1st aid and lifesaving skills as a compulsory part of the School curriculum.

A separate study by the British Red Cross found that up to 59% of deaths from injuries could be prevented if 1st aid had been given before the medical services arrived. The actions of the 1st person at the scene are vital; and can mean the difference between life and death.

After attending a 1st aid club at her School, Hanna Floyd, then 11, was quickly able to put her 1st aid knowledge into practice when her mum Michelle collapsed at their home in Bury. Hanna knew she needed to act quickly to help her mum but did not panic when she called for an ambulance.

Michelle, from Bury in Greater Manchester, said:- "Hanna was amazing. She knew what to do because she had practiced calling 999 at School.  I think everybody should learn 1st aid because nobody knows when a situation like this could happen. I am extremely grateful to the School for teaching 1st aid."

The curriculum changes come under the introduction of Relationships, Sex and Health Education and mean that from September 2020 all pupils in state-funded Schools in England will learn 1st aid. Primary School children will be taught basic 1st aid for example, how to call emergency services or how to help someone with a head injury. Secondary School children will learn lifesaving skills such as how to help someone who is having a cardiac arrest.

Around 1,600 Schools across England have signed up to start teaching Relationships, Sex and Health Education early from this September, according to the Department for Education. Over 300 Schools have already signed up to receive free British Red Cross 1st aid education resources to support teachers to start teaching 1st aid this year. The British Red Cross is committed to campaigning for 1st aid education to be taught in all Schools once a year, every year across the whole of the UK.

Joe Mulligan, Head of 1st Aid Education at the British Red Cross said:- "The launch of 1st aid on the School curriculum in England celebrates a landmark commitment by Government to create a future generation of lifesavers. Our research released for World 1st Aid Day highlights how vital 1st aid lessons are in teaching and empowering children to feel they are able to help in an emergency. These aren't just skills that young people will be able to use now, but will be able to take with them into adulthood. We need to build strong communities who know to help in a crisis, we are now a step closer to achieving this."

The British Red Cross are also re-launching their 1st aid mobile app so that everyone can have lifesaving skills at their fingertips.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:- "It's fantastic that young people are so enthusiastic about learning 1st aid; a really important skill that means they will be ready to help in an emergency and could even save someone's life 1 day.  Our new health education curriculum, to be rolled out nationally in 2020, will mean every child will have the chance to learn lifesaving skills at School along with how to look after their own mental and physical health, ensuring they have the knowledge they need to grow up safe and happy."

Everyone can know the skills to save a life. Download the free British Red Cross app to learn lifesaving 1st aid skills.

Fact file:- Online surveys were carried out by ResearchBods. Parents: Total sample size was 1000 parents of 5 to 18 year olds, of which 120 were from the North West. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5 August, until 14 August 2019. Children: Total sample size was 1000 UK children aged 8 to 15, of which 106 were from the North West. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5 August, until 14 August 2019. The figures are representative of all UK children (aged 8 to 15).  Research, Evaluation and Impact Report: British Red Cross and the University of Manchester Are pre-Hospital deaths from trauma and accidental injury preventable? A summary report (2016) Alison McNulty.

Charity calls for the UK Government to develop a specific policy for cancers with the lowest survival

A newly published study (Lancet Oncology) reveals that cancer patients in the UK still face worse survival rates than other comparable high income countries. Pancreatic Cancer Action is calling for specific policy targets for pancreatic cancer as survival rates for the disease are particularly poor. 5 year cancer survival has been found to be improving across all the countries included in the study and for most cancers, survival is at a record high. However, there were some important differences in survival by cancer site (type of cancer). Rectal and colon cancer had the highest survival rates, but pancreatic cancer was by far the lowest, and was the only cancer included within the study to have a 5 year survival still in single figures (around 7% in the UK).  There were also important variations in survival by country. The UK was 1 of the worst performing countries for survival rates across cancer sites, with the lowest 5 year survival for 5 of the 7 cancers studied, including pancreatic cancer. Overall the study by Pancreatic Cancer Action has also shown that pancreatic cancer survival rates still lag behind those of other common cancers and that survival rates in the UK are particularly poor. This is also not the 1st study to identify that as other cancers are diagnosed earlier and treated better, leading to increased survival, pancreatic cancer is still being left behind.  Furthermore, Pancreatic Cancer Action has concluded that without serious and meaningful action to change these statistics, this is unlikely to change. What is even more shocking is that the 5 year survival of pancreatic cancer in Australia is double what it is across the UK (14.6%)! This figures released have also shown that improvements in survival are possible and should prompt the UK Government to look hard at Australia's example to see where positive change can be made for patients in the UK.

A spokesperson for Pancreatic Cancer Action said that:-  "The study has found that the UK needs to look seriously at policies to increase cancer survival and improve these statistics. Although survival is at an all time high, this study shows that we still lag behind comparable countries across many cancer sites.  We have concluded that early diagnosis is key to survival and learning lessons from countries like Australia means granting GPs and pharmacists new powers to investigate patients they are concerned about. It also requires investment in the NHS to ensure that the scanners and other diagnostic equipment we need to catch cancer early are in place as well as the staff to run them. We need to continue to invest in the treatments that patients need to survive cancer and the care to recover their quality of life and reach their goals.  Here at Pancreatic Cancer Action, we are dedicated to improving early diagnosis of the disease. We act to raise awareness of the causes and symptoms of pancreatic cancer amongst health care professionals and the public. We provide a voice for those affected by pancreatic cancer at parliament and we fund research into early diagnosis of the disease. However, we cannot overcome the challenge of early diagnosis and survival alone. We will act together with charities representing other cancers with vague symptoms to push for a specific target for early diagnosis. This target needs to be backed up with policies such as those in Australia to create real change and make the progress in survival that pancreatic cancer desperately needs. Our study is not the 1st to show pancreatic cancer survival rates lagging behind others. We are calling for specific policy targets and investment to try and ensure that it is the last.  A department of health and social care spokesperson has also commented on the study, pointing out that cancer survival rates in the UK are at a record high and measures laid out in the NHS Long Term Plan are estimated to save 55,000 extra lives a year. The Long Term Plans sets out a target of 75% of cancers diagnosed in the early stages of the disease (1 and 2). For cancers with vague symptoms this represents a challenge that currently cannot be met. Between 10 and twenty percent of pancreatic cancer is currently diagnosed in the early stages of the disease and for many patients, survival remains under 6 months.  What's more delivering the plan in an NHS facing staff shortages, out of date equipment and run down estates won't be easy.  Current policy to increase early diagnosis of cancers, like pancreatic, with vague and nonspecific symptoms such as the trial of rapid diagnostic centres are welcomed. More cases of pancreatic cancer are being diagnosed, but crucially, many cases are still caught too late, in the advanced stages of the disease. Therefore, though the focus on cancer in the Long Term Plan is important, and has the potential to save lives, its impact on pancreatic cancer is likely to be minimal without further policy change."

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