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How Oxfordshire I.M.P.S. has helped 100,000 children stay safe

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The Oxfordshire branch of the Injury Minimization Programme for Schools (I.M.P.S.) recently taught its 100,000th year six pupil.

The programme, which launched in 1995, aims to empower young people to take responsibility for their own risk management, equip them with basic first aid skills, and reduce death and disability as a result of common accidents.

It targets children between the ages of 10 and 11 who are statistically at the highest risk of having an accident, and brings them to a local hospital to help them learn resuscitation skills, what to do if someone is choking or unconscious, and how to prevent accidents happening in the first place. The programme is taught in both school and hospital environments, with year six pupils from across Oxfordshire visiting the John Radcliffe Hospital, the Horton General Hospital, or Witney, Abingdon, and Townlands Community Hospitals.

Specialist trainers also show pupils how to use both CPR and defibrillators, as well as basic information such as using the recovery position.

5,200 pupils attend every year, with 80 percent of state schools and several special needs schools enrolled onto the programme.

The programme is partly funded by Oxfordshire County Council, and boosted by local grants, donations, and fundraising for I.M.P.S. through Oxford Hospitals Charity.

Debbie Lock, Programme Manager for I.M.P.S., said: "We are so pleased and proud that we've reached this landmark. It's amazing to think that we've given so many young people life-saving advice.

"We know it makes a real difference - we've even had thank you letters from pupils when their new skills have been called upon at really important times. One boy helped his mum when a jar of honey exploded in her face after she put it in the microwave. The Emergency Department staff said she avoided having skin grafts to her face because of her son's quick actions using his I.M.P.S. skills.

"Even if children don't put their learning into practice, being in hospitals and clinical environments as part of their course makes them more comfortable with these surroundings, and less likely to panic if a first aid or hospital situation should come up. It's obviously effective - some of our previous pupils were inspired by I.M.P.S. to work in our hospitals!"

A celebratory event to mark the 100,000th pupil will be held in Tingewick Hall Foyer at the John Radcliffe Hospital on Wednesday 17 July 2019 at 12.30pm.

To fundraise for I.M.P.S, please visit the Oxford Hospitals Charity website.