His letter to the Minister making the call was also backed by party colleagues Diane Dodds and Harry Harvey.
The East Belfast MLA said “In Northern Ireland there are around 1,400 cardiac arrests each year that take place outside of hospital. Less than one in ten people survive to be discharged from hospital. Survival rates are higher in places where more people are trained to perform CPR and are willing to intervene, but too few people here have the skills and confidence to step in and help.
There is evidence to show that the introduction of compulsory CPR lessons in schools can transform survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. After Denmark introduced compulsory CPR lessons for pupils in 2005, its cardiac arrest survival rates tripled, and now 1 in 4 people in Denmark who have a cardiac arrest will survive.
British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) offer free CPR training kits to all eligible secondary schools in Northern Ireland to enable young people to learn these skills. They have provided kits to 67% of eligible schools.
Such training has already been introduced in other parts of the UK and I know the Minister will look carefully at this request. Young people would be equipped with skills they could draw on at any time in their lives. It could transform out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates and help save thousands of lives.”