First Aid in the UK doomed!

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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