Holiday healthcare heroes: ‘First aid training really can save lives’

Simon Drewett teaches new parents infant resuscitation techniques. Photo: ECCH

Simon Drewett teaches new parents infant resuscitation techniques. Photo: ECCH - Credit: ECCH

Throughout advent, we're highlighting those who work hard throughout the year - and at Christmas - to keep Norfolk and Waveney's health service ticking over.

A Year 10 pupil at Caister Academy practices CPR. Photo: ECCH

A Year 10 pupil at Caister Academy practices CPR. Photo: ECCH - Credit: ECCH

This countdown of those we count on will focus on a different person or individual every day up until Christmas, celebrating our healthcare heroes.

Simon Drewett, specialist trainer at East Coast Community Healthcare

Specialist trainer Simon Drewett says the best thing about his job is knowing more lives could be saved because of the first aid skills he shares.

Simon is part of the training and development team at East Coast Community Healthcare which was set up to share knowledge within the organisation and beyond.

Mum Sarah Ollett practices techniques to stop a baby from choking
. Photo: ECCH

Mum Sarah Ollett practices techniques to stop a baby from choking . Photo: ECCH - Credit: ECCH


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Clinicians and staff from the James Paget Hospital, Norwich City Council, GP surgeries and care homes across Norfolk and Waveney have all attended courses, as well as members of the general public. Subjects range from safeguarding and falls prevention to management training and customer care, all provided by staff who work in the relevant field of practice.

Just last month Simon was working with Year 10 pupils from Caister Academy teaching them what to do if they witness someone having a heart attack or severe allergic reaction.

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The academy was the first to take part in the free sessions offered to all high schools in the area. Students learned how to recognise signs of cardiac arrest or choking, resuscitation methods for adults and children, use of a defibrillator and how to recognise and treat anaphylaxis.

In the summer Simon provided more free training to new parents in Lowestoft and Waveney teaching them what to do if a baby starts to choke. He taught them the correct procedure for clearing an airway as well as how to recognise when a child stops breathing and administer infant resuscitation techniques.

Simon said: 'I love my job. First aid training really can save lives and giving these skills to other people is so important. You never know when you might need to use them. If you witness a cardiac arrest, or a child choking, and don't know what to do, the chances of the victim surviving are severely reduced, so I like to think my job helps other people save lives even before medical staff arrive on the scene.'

A Department of Health study has shown that more than 1,000 lives could be saved each year in England if more members of the public were trained in CPR. The survival rate drops by around 10pc for every minute's delay in providing defibrillation.

• To read about other holiday health heroes, click on a door on the advent calendar above.

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