Over 2,500 school pupils have been given vital training in life-saving skills as part of a scheme led by volunteer healthcare students from the University of Birmingham.

Heart Start

With the emergency services in the West Midlands handling nearly one million ambulance calls last year, the need for life support teaching has become increasingly important.

Students reading nursing, medicine, dentistry, physiotherapy or pharmacy and in their second year of study onwards, were trained to become life support instructors to help young people from across Birmingham to get to grips with the skills that could save the life of a loved one.

Pupils were taught how to recognise and manage a victim of a cardiac arrest, someone who had fallen unconscious, someone having a heart attack, someone choking and someone who was badly bleeding.

Joe Alderman, one of the medical students running the scheme, said, “These sessions are so important. It concerns us that there is currently no mandatory life support teaching in the curriculum for school pupils – it’s no surprise that in the UK we are falling behind other countries in teaching people these skills.”

“Schemes such as this deliver training directly to the next generation, and will be sure to save lives in years to come. We’ve all found it so rewarding.”

The sessions took just two hours to deliver, and were completely free of charge for the pupils and the schools.

The scheme, supported by the British Heart Foundation’s ‘Heartstart’ programme and by Health Education England, will continue throughout 2015.

For more information about the course or to find out how to book a free session for your school or academy, email: basiclifesupport@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Notes to editors:

For further information, contact Joe Alderman, medical student at the University of Birmingham on +44 (0)7843 377 452 (email preferred)

  • In total 2750 students and pupils have been taught by the scheme
  • Our volunteer teachers have so far given up 600 hours of their time
  • All volunteer teachers are fully CRB checked and trained how to teach children aged 12-18