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A lesson in life-saving for local MP

June 1, 2012 3:39 PM

The resuscitation team at St Helier Hospital gave Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton and Cheam and Minister of State for Care Services, a lesson in life-saving earlier today (1 Paul; Burstow during the courseJune 2012), as he took a basic course in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid.

During the session, Mr Burstow was shown - and practiced for himself - a number of life-saving skills, including what to do if you suspect someone may be having a heart attack, how to deal with someone who is seriously bleeding and how to help someone who has stopped breathing.

Mr Burstow was also shown how to use a defibrillator, a machine that can be used to give the heart a shock in some cases of cardiac arrest. Defibrillators are now found in many public places, including schools, railway stations and shopping centres.

Pippa Hart is the Trust's Director of Nursing and trains doctors, nurses and other staff in resuscitation. She said: "We were delighted to welcome Paul to the hospital, and so pleased he has taken the time out of his busy schedule to find out more about these vital life-saving skills." Sadly, figures show that up to 150,000 people a year in the UK could be given a chance to live if more people knew first aid. This staggering number includes nearly 900 people who choke to death, 2,500 who die because of a blocked airway and 29,000 who die from heart attacks.

"But, if you happen to be the first on the scene of an emergency and you know these basic skills, you could be the difference between life and death."

Paul Burstow MP said: "As a local MP and a Health Minister, I obviously take the health, wellbeing and safety of my constituents, as well as the public at large, very seriously indeed. Now, thanks to the resuscitation team at St Helier Hospital, I can be confident that I could make a very real difference to someone should they need CPR or find themselves in another life-threatening situation.

"The skills are simple, they don't take long to learn but they could save a life. I would recommend a first aid course to anyone."

Commenting on using the defibrillator, Paul added: "I have to be honest, the idea of using the defibrillator was quite nerve-wracking. However, it was much easier than I thought it would be and I would feel comfortable using one in the future. You regularly see them in public places and they have a key role to play in saving people's lives."

For more information about first aid courses around the country, visit St John's Ambulance at www.sja.org.uk. You can also find first aid tips online at www.bhf.org.uk. For more information about Epsom, Sutton and St Helier hospitals, including the services we provide, visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk. You can also join our 2,300 followers on Twitter (twitter.com/epsom_sthelier) or find us on Facebook (facebook.com/epsomsthelier).