NHS Kicks Off ‘CPR Army’ following Christian Eriksen's collapse

England’s top doctor is sending out an army of volunteers to teach CPR after international footballer Christian Eriksen was saved by quick thinking medics during the Euro 2020 match at the weekend.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 10:34 am

Speaking at the NHS Confederation Conference on the day Denmark return to action in Euro 2020, England’s National Medical Director, Professor Stephen Powis, is expected to say that ‘it is clear the footballer’s life was saved by urgent medical attention on the pitch – just like Fabrice Muamba nine years earlier’.

With only one in three people in England giving CPR when they witness someone going into cardiac arrest, Professor Powis says thousands more lives could be saved if more people knew what to do.

Today he is announcing the launch of a new partnership with St John Ambulance to deliver an NHS programme encouraging everyone to learn CPR and how to use defibrillators. The health and first aid charity recently trained 27,000 vaccination volunteers in these lifesaving skills and will seek to train an additional 60,000 people as part of this new programme.

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Christian Eriksen

Professor Powis said: “During the pandemic, tens of thousands of people volunteered to support the hugely successful NHS vaccination programme and many more took up roles delivering medicines or checking on vulnerable people shielding at home.

“Since Eriksen’s collapse at the weekend, we have also seen kind hearted Brits sharing information online on how to do CPR and save a life. Today, I’m calling on them to go one step further and train to teach CPR as we know this will mean more lives like Christian Eriksen’s will be saved.”

Building on the work being done by charities and community organisations, St John Ambulance and NHS ambulance trusts will develop a national network of defibrillators and Community Advocates to champion the importance of first aid, which will help save up to 4,000 lives each year by 2028. This will be supported by an education programme, including for young people of school age, about how to recognise and respond to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Professor Powis said: “If more people had the confidence and skills to call 999 quickly, deliver effective CPR until the ambulance crew arrive, and use a public access defibrillator, the number of lives saved would double.

“We saw a massive rush in willing volunteers to help lifesaving activity during the pandemic and we hope that even more people will be inspired to join our Eriksen’s Army, learn CPR and become lifesavers.”

The NHS Long Term Plan aims to increase the out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rate in England from seven per cent to 25 per cent to bridge the gap between countries like Norway where, 73 per cent of bystanders are willing to try CPR when they witness someone collapsing and going into cardiac arrest outside of hospital.

At least 30 volunteers from each of England’s 10 ambulance trusts will be supported to get out into the community and teach lifesaving skills.

As the new project gets underway, St John Ambulance is offering free CPR and defibrillator courses online.