The Resuscitation Council (UK) welcomes the recommendation by the Department for Education that all schools in England should invest in life-saving defibrillators.
In its policy document the Department mentions also that associated training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can be cascaded to all school staff and pupils and we recommend strongly and wholeheartedly that this happens. The Resuscitation Council (UK) has campaigned for mandatory training of all schoolchildren in CPR as a key life skill. Evidence from other countries shows that this increases the number of people who survive after suffering sudden cardiac arrest, not only in schools but also in the wider community. Purchasing defibrillators alone is only one part of the solution. If all staff and students are not taught how to respond immediately when someone collapses and stops breathing, the investment in defibrillators is likely to have only limited benefit.
Whilst the announcement by the Department for Education falls short of a mandatory requirement, we recognise this as a major step forward in the fight against sudden cardiac death. We look forward to working further with the Department for Education and also the Department of Health in providing guidance for schools on how to deliver training in CPR. We look forward also to continuing to work with other professional bodies and charities to promote uniformly prompt access to CPR and defibrillators in communities throughout the UK.