You, like many people, may not be aware that there are no specific and agreed standards for the delivery of basic life support training. Additionally, no specific course is ‘accredited’ by any regulating authority.

This has inevitably led to huge variation both in terms of delivery and content across different organisations and sectors.

Of course, in reality, doing something – even if not optimally – in a cardiac arrest is better than doing nothing. But it is obviously better to be following evidence-based actions to provide the best potential benefit to the casualty.


Another challenge arising from a lack of guidance and regulation is the potential for often pointless retraining in CPR. This can happen when a member of staff who moves into an organisation from another has to redo their basic life support training.

This can happen even when their original training is in-date, and possibly even when recently undertaken.

Imagine how much this is costing organisations. Additionally, think of the time new staff spend on potentially unnecessary training rather than care delivery – and how frustrating this can be for all involved.

A reduction of this training duplication was one of the drivers for the creation of the Level 3 ILS Course which is accredited by the Resuscitation Council UK.

Surely the numerous budget and staffing challenges we face mean sector management need to get creative, using quality standardisation as a path to budgetary savings and maximum patient-care time.

AEDs save lives

The key treatment tool for a cardiac arrest is a defibrillator. With the advent of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) this treatment has been brought to a variety of environments, most of which are outside the healthcare sector.

These machines can be used by untrained rescuers, but the recommendation is that users should be trained. Given this premise, it would be sensible to consider that training on an AED would be included as standard in all basic life support training programmes.

Yet it’s not in many professional and employment settings.

Nonsensical? But as there are no standards it is hardly surprising that this dichotomy has arisen.

As a general rule, the starting point for all patient-facing, care-giving staff in a healthcare setting should be training in adult basic life support. And where staff have responsibility for caring for those under 18, they should also receive paediatric basic life support training.

The triaging of who needs what training and having separate sessions increases administrative burdens and impacts on compliance recording. Furthermore, it removes staff for more time from their care giving duties – and is costly.

One for all

And given that many trainees will have children, or come into contact with children, has the time not come to do away with separate sessions and just have combined adult and paediatric basic life support sessions for all?

This would ensure we have a well-trained workforce and community responders. It would save money, reduce an administrative burden and give time back to caring where it was most needed.

It also helps overall with a positive workplace by giving staff training in an area that is also an important life skill.

Improve and save

The time has surely come to have better oversight of the content and quality of basic life support training, with a core syllabus and learning outcomes that are common and transferable between organisations.

Taking this core approach will allow for bespoke training targeting specific needs while also ensuring a standard approach which must include AED use as the only treatment for cardiac arrest.

Plus, combining adult & paediatric basic life support as a standard model will reduce cost and improve care time.

If you would like to discuss your life support training needs, give us a call on 0800 112 3205.