Archive for July, 2013


First Aid in the UK doomed!

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Apologies for the dramatic headline but i hoped to grab some attention.  If you have kept up with the blog over the years most of you will know that when i am not cycling i am a freelance outdoor instructor.  This requires me to have a first aid qualification.  I have used the same first aid provider for about 10 years now.  I was recently sent this email from them regarding the planned changes to first aid provision in the UK.  Please take a read and if you feel so inclined write to your MP, letter bellow to cut and past and info on how to contact them.

From my point of view it will make it more expensive for me to revalidate my first aid. It could also potentially reduce the quality of provision.    At the moment my provider tailors the first aid to an outdoor environment, very useful for an outdoor instructor.  The new changes look like it will make it harder for this to happen.

From Pete at First Aid Cumbria

Like to ask you to spare 5 minutes to contact your MP to ask for support for the The First Aid Industry Body (FAIB) to be able to continue with the  monitoring and approvals of providers of the First Aid qualifications.  Your involvement as a customer/employer will mean a lot more then anything i can write.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have announced that with effect from the 1st October 2013, they will no longer be responsible for the monitoring and approvals of providers of the First Aid qualifications.
HSE’s proposed Amendments are being laid before Parliament on 27th June 2013.

For some reason HSE are ignoring the views of the vast majority of First Aid Training Organisations. 

We are  really concerned that if there is an over emphasis  by HSE on the St.John/Red Cross or Ofqual/FE route (Awarding Organisation’s  or AO’s).

HSE are are giving more credibility to the AO’s route because they say it is an “accredited” qualification.

We are also concerned that the HSE wording affects the views of  Employers because in effect HSE are giving FAVOUR to a particular route when it SHOULD BE A FREE CHOICE TO EMPLOYERS.  The Awarding Organisation’s  will become suppliers of expensive certificates  and manuals. Courses will be of lower quality and expensive (6 hr EFAW course with St John’s Ambulance in Kendal is £138 – we deliver a two day course with pub lunches, an EFAW & Outdoor certification as well AED familiarisation plus throw in a £10 pocket mask for approx £110. ).   Also the Course content and lack of situation specific scenarios will render the courses offered not fit for purpose in an outdoor context. Eg do not cover hypothermia etc so will not meet the criteria set out by all the outdoor sport NGBs like RYA and BCU or MLB and also will not meet the training needs identified by employers for first aid in the outdoor workplace.

Unfortunately the draft guidance is so biased towards Ofqual/SQA that any Training Organisation and Employer with even a limited amount of intelligence can see that HSE are in essence saying Ofqual/SQA is the only suitable option because due diligence is required against all other options 
 
This was certainly not the intention of the Lofstedt Review where the expectation was a free and open market without any bias from any quarter, especially HSE.
HSE are trying to make us pay various other people to allow us to do what we’ve successfully done for 10 years. (We used to pay the HSE which was simple and effective but that ends in September).  We just want to deliver courses with  minimum fuss and bother. The AO’s will deliberately fragment the industry into ‘their’ methods effectively creating a series of ‘closed shops’. It will allow them to extract more money.
It’s bad news for Independent Trainers like us who  will have to ‘sign up’  to various AO’s to get our course ‘accredited’.
The entire business is money grubbing and divisive and will not improve quality which was  the Government’s  stated aim. 
We teach  First Aid!  It’s  simple. We try and give simple and enjoyable instruction….HSE proposed changes will add nothing apart from more work for us and ultimately more expensive courses for you.
AO’s have already create countless different types of ‘qualifications’ all delivering exactly the same information.
 ’Choice’.-The politicians clever word (patented by Tony Blair I believe)  or ‘privatisation’ as its better known.  I now have 18  ’choices’  of Awarding Organisations to choose from all costing lots of money and all adding higher levels of paperwork.
We are asking as many of our customers as possible to contact their own M.P. (http://findyourmp.parliament.uk ) and consequently the Minister Mark Hoban about the proposed changes.
The ‘draft proposal’  will reduce our flexibility and specialism, and  will increase costs to you and we feel will lead to a dumbing down of training to meet “lowest common denominator” needs.
Industries with specialist requirements (eg outdoor adventure activities as regulated by AALS) would be poorly catered for under the draft proposals, and this would lead to expensive, inappropriate courses that will not meet the needs and drive up costs for both you  and us.

An  alternative option  that we favour is offered by The First Aid Industry Body (FAIB), We would like them to be able to continue with the  monitoring and approvals of providers of the First Aid qualifications. Monitoring will be more frequent than with the HSE system and yet the costs will be kept to an absolute minimum which means you will not have to pay more for your next course.

If HSE’s proposed changes are successful then it will be unlikely that you will be able to do another one of our courses but  will be forced to attend a more expensive and lower quality course next time you revalidate.

Please can you write to your MP  http://findyourmp.parliament.uk  ASAP and ask them to send a letter to the Minister (Mark Hoban M.P.). (Letter below)
All we want is the HSE is to create a level playing field that will a First Aid Industry Body to compete on the same terms as St.John/Red Cross or Ofqual/FE route (Awarding Organisation’s  or AO’s).

Many thanks for your support

Regards

Peter Cunningham

Dear MP   http://findyourmp.parliament.uk

I would like you, as my MP, to raise my concerns regarding the HSE’s plan to radically change the way in which first aid courses are ratified.
 
The HSE’s amendments are to be laid before Parliament on the 27th June 2013.
I am concerned that there is an over emphasis by HSE on the St.John/Red Cross or Ofqual/FE route.  HSE are  giving more credibility to the St.John/Red Cross or Ofqual/FE route because they say it is an “accredited” qualification.
I am also concerned that the HSE wording affects our views because in effect HSE are giving FAVOUR to a particular route when it SHOULD BE A FREE CHOICE.
 
Unfortunately the draft guidance is so biased towards one of the available options (Ofqual/SQA) that any Training Organisation and Employer with even a limited amount of intelligence can see that HSE are in essence saying St.John/Red Cross or Ofqual/FE route is the only suitable option because due diligence is required against all other options.
 In my experience, the very providers that the HSE will inadvertently exclude are the most engaging and well delivered.

I have found the ones which the HSE will ”support” are the most expensive, dull and uninspiring ones.
 
This was certainly not the intention of the Lofstedt Review where the expectation was a free and open market without any bias from any quarter, especially HSE.
I hope you will be able to lend your voice to my and many others’ opinion, and persuade the HSE to reconsider this ill thought out proposal.  The draft proposals  will only increase costs to us and i feel will lead to a dumbing down of training to meet “lowest common denominator” needs. 
Industries with specialist requirements (eg outdoor adventure activities as regulated by AALS) would be poorly catered for under the draft proposals, and this would lead to expensive, inappropriate courses that will not meet the needs and drive up costs.

It would be a tragedy if instructors, coaches, teachers, school children, hotel/guest house staff, members of the public et al. were denied access to the highest quality and most affordable training they can get.

All I want is the HSE is to create a level playing field that will allow a  ‘First Aid Industry Body’ to compete on the same terms as St.John/Red Cross or Ofqual/FE route (Awarding Organisation’s  or AO’s).

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you

Your Name






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Baby Alex… two become three

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Our last post was a few months ago and we thought you might like an update. Our baby boy, Alexander Gray Leakey, was born on 2nd May 2013, just after midnight, weighing just 5lbs 10oz.

Alex decided to join us a little earlier than expected at 35 weeks, rather than 40, and wasn’t due until 1st June. I was still at work and got quite a surprise when my waters broke quite spontaneously in the office! I wasn’t completely surprised however as his head was very low and I had been experiencing some early labour twinges on the previous saturday.

On the day though, Chris happened to be at the funeral of his great uncle, Bob Leakey, aged 98, in North Yorkshire and I had a few hours of being labour without managing to contact Chris! He got there in time though.

Bob Leakey, or Uncle Robert as we knew him, was an extraordinary fellow, born in Kenya, an inventor and engineer, he was once described as ‘the Edmund Hillary of Potholing’ with a colourful history of big underground adventures. I only met him 3 times, but he certainly made an impression and I can’t help feeling that as one great Leakey was being laid to rest another was being born.

Alex is named after my Grandad, my mum’s dad, and he was also a wonderful man, who I have such fond memories of. I hope my Alex will grow up to be as kind and funny as my grandad, and to be as good at drawing, singing, telling stories and giving elephant rides as he was! Having a baby somehow makes you reflect on the great men who have gone before him and you can’t help thinking about the continuity of your family and all the threads that are woven together from both sides.

The labour and birth went very smoothly, taking about 8 hrs from that moment in the office to the midwife laying him on my tummy, and I was able to avoid any interventions and big pain relief. Gravity and breathing helped a lot and a couple of hours of gas and air allowed me to give birth with a few big pushes at 12.27am.

I don’t know if cycling up big mountains improved my pain threshold, but it certainly helped my mental strength, and feeling in control is a big part of labour I believe. It was an incredible experience and once again, I am amazed at what the human body is capable of.

I am glad that we got up at 5am each day back in Malaysia, when we were trying anything to avoid the midday heat. It meant that I knew I could get up early if I really had to and has helped me cope with the lack of sleep and night time feeds.

Our trip also taught us the art of problem solving, with daily challenges being hurled our way. Having a new born is quite similar, although being tired and hungry is easier when it’s just you to worry about and you can tell each other what’s wrong. We are slowly beginning to understand Alex’s different cries. As you figure out one problem, a new one soon presents itself, however as with all things, it’s usually temporary and the words “this too shall pass” frequently echo in my head.

Proud Daddy!

Since his arrival, Alex has been to a wedding in the Lake District and to a book launch at the Oval Cricket ground in London. Oli Broom, who we met on the road in Thailand, cycled from Lords Cricket Ground (UK) to “The Gabba” in Brisbane, Australia to get to The Ashes. We were delighted to be invited to Oli’s book launch ” Cycling to the Ashes” and couldn’t resist putting Alex in his little penny farthing babygro! Oli’s fantastic book is available through Amazon…

Now at 10 weeks old he is starting to smile, coo and his legs are already practicing those pedalling moves! Chris is researching bike trailers and we are saving our pennies to buy one soon. Hopefully we can get out on our bikes, with Alex,  for more adventures in a few months time!

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