Pupils at Stormont as members vote on CPR awareness bill

Pupils at Stormont as members vote on CPR awareness bill

24 November 2021

STUDENTS from St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick visited Parliament Buildings recently as Assembly members voted to support a private member’s bill tabled by South Down MLA Colin McGrath on CPR and AED awareness.

Mr McGrath described support for his bill as a “proud day” and explained its purpose is to introduce CPR and awareness of how to use defibrillators on the school curriculum.

He said with over 1,400 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests taking place each year and less than one in ten surviving, the need for training in this critical field has never been greater. 

“We all know the pressures our health service is under,” continued Mr McGrath.

“By enacting this legislation, we will have a whole generation of lifesavers trained with the skills and confidence to carry out CPR if it is ever necessary.

“Due to the nature of a cardiac arrest, literally every minute counts in ensuring not only that the person survives, but that they have the best chance of a recovery afterwards.”

Mr McGrath explained that his bill will mean bystanders or people in the home can perform CPR on those who suffer a heart attack to help ease the pressure that the health service is under as they wait for an emergency ambulance to arrive.

“I was delighted to welcome staff and Lower Sixth students from St Mary’s High School who are studying Learning for Life and Work,” the MLA continued.

“CPR and AED training will be carried out in this subject if the legislation passes. While here, the students were able to avail of CPR training to see how easy it is to pick up and to explore Stormont a bit more.”

Mr McGrath said they also had the opportunity to meet with Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon ahead of her visit to COP-26 in Glasgow.

The South Down MLA added: “Hopefully, this bill will progress through its next stages. When it does, it will be young people like those from St Mary’s High School who will be the lifesavers of tomorrow. That is something I think we can each rest easy knowing.”