Emerald Messenger

COVID-19 is the current but not the only health threat needing concerted effort by all Australians in the longer term. There are many serious health issues Australia could be doing much more to address through training and educating our community. For example reducing ongoing impacts, disability and death by implementing regular First Aid Training for all citizens.

A survey in Norway of 1,000 people found that 90% had received first aid training and 54% had undergone first aid training within the last 5 years. First aid training is part of the national school curriculum for grades 7 and 10. First aid training has also been compulsory for obtaining a driver’s licence since 2003.

According to the Red Cross, Australia has one of the lowest rates of first-aid training in the world with less than 5% of people having been trained to handle an emergency situation. Almost 500,000 Australians are admitted to hospital every year as a result of injury with around 12,000 dying from their injuries, primarily from falls. Most injuries occur in the home, followed by the workplace. “Workplaces offering first aid is low,” Red Cross spokeswoman Amanda Lindsay said. “They might encourage their staff to do first-aid training, but paying for first-aid training, only 50 per cent of Australian workplaces [do so].”

An article based on 2017 Australian statistics in BMJ Open (bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/1/e033722) states:

2017 Australian statistics in An article in Based on 2017 Australian statistics, an article in BMJ Open medical journal noted that “Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) more than doubles the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest, however the provision of bystander CPR remains low. While there has been improvement in bystander CPR rates with the introduction of dispatcher-assisted CPR instructions during the emergency call, a significant proportion still do not feel confident to provide CPR even with instructions.

There is growing evidence of a link between rates of bystander CPR and CPR training. Three studies have now reported communities with higher rates of bystander CPR have high rates of CPR trained residents. This most likely occurs because CPR training is significantly associated with increased confidence and willingness to provide CPR. Existing data also suggests specific demographics are associated with CPR training, including age, education level, country of birth and occupation.”

Now pandemic restrictions are in force we will see a sharp decrease in First Aid training which has usually required physical participation. Or we could see a concerted effort to educate and train our whole community, achieving many more lives saved as Australians complete online courses and include weekly fun first aid practice challenges through social media and TV led practice.

My vote is for a review of our community response to crisis preparedness. Have a day dedicated to Crisis Response and Preparation (CRaP) with first aid training and practice regular events.

KATE FORSTER

Categories: May 2020