The procedures and steps advised on first aid courses are continuously reviewed and, where required, amended. Qualsafe Awards have recently released a summary of the key changes being made to the first aid curriculum. Our presentations will be updated to ensure we are providing candidates with the correct, up to date information and guidance. We have also ordered the updated first aid books that candidates receive to take home from their course. Below we will detail all the key changes to first aid that have been made so you can keep updated with the recommended course of action.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The labelled image below should now be included showing the first aider wearing ‘level 2 PPE’ face mask, eye protection and disposable apron. Where appropriate, the casualty should also where a face mask.

key changes to first aid - personal protective equipment to be worn


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

A greater emphasis is to be placed on advising to call 999/112 on a speaker-phone so that CPR can be started while simultaneously talking to the ambulance call handler.

Additional advice has also been added when you have to perform CPR but are unable to move the casualty off a bed: Remove the pillows and kneel on the bed next to the casualty to give CPR (this helps to compress the mattress with your own weight). Increase your overall compression depth to compensate for the mattress compression.


Hygiene during resuscitation

Clarification should be made that a protective barrier such as a face shield or pocket mask will not fully protect from Covid-19.



A small change has been made to the text on choking recognition –

Advice amended from shout for help to: Shout for someone to call 999/112, or call on a speaker-phone if you can do this at the same as giving treatment.

‘Received abdominal thrusts’ is now added to reasons to seek immediate medical attention after treatment.



P for pain changed to ‘Pressure’ to better reflect appropriate actions of a first aider. Text now reads: The casualty responds to pressure. Further text includes ‘Localises Pressure: The casualty is able to localise where pressure stimulus is being applied’ and ‘Responds to (but does not localise) Pressure: The casualty responds to pressure stimulus, but is unable to localise it.’


Recovery position

Additional advice update: The recovery position is intended for an unresponsive, uninjured casualty who is breathing normally and does NOT need CPR.

Recovery position – injured casualty

Updated advice: For an injured unconscious casualty, keep them still and continually monitor airway and breathing. Only use the recovery position if the airway is at risk (e.g. fluids in the airway, or you have to leave them to get help and therefore cannot continually monitor breathing).


Anaphylaxis – minor updates

Recognition: A rapid onset and rapid progression – becoming very ill, very quickly.

Treatment: The dose of adrenaline can be repeated after 5 minute intervals if there is no improvement or symptoms return.


Asthma treatment – minor updates

  • The casualty should take one puff of their reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds for up to 10 puffs.
  • Call 999/112 for emergency help if they feel worse at any point or if they don’t feel better after 10 puffs.
  • The 10 puff inhaler routine can be repeated after a few minutes if the ambulance hasn’t arrived yet.


Stroke recognition

Other red flag symptoms added to aid recognition of other stroke systems that may not be identified with the FAST test:

  • Balance – sudden loss of balance, trouble walking, dizziness or loss of coordination;
  • Eyes – sudden vision loss, double vision or partial loss of vision in one or both eyes; and
  • Sudden severe headache, nausea or vomiting.


Control of bleeding – updated information

Pressure – ‘you may need to press into the wound.’ If a dressing gets saturated with blood, take it off and make sure you are applying direct pressure to the exact point of bleeding. Only re-dress it when the bleeding is controlled.


Wound packing

  • Emphasis that wound packing is for ‘life-threatening’ bleeding;
  • Additional emphasis on using improvised wound packing if necessary;
  • Abdomen removed from sites amiable to wound packing; and
  • Added text: DO NOT try to pack a chest wound.


Tourniquets – updated section

  • Emphasis that tourniquets are for ‘life-threatening’ bleeding from an arm or leg that cannot be controlled by applying manual pressure;
  • Place the tourniquet 5-7cm above the wound but not over a joint; and
  • DO NOT release a tourniquet, only a healthcare professional can do this.


Knocked out (adult) tooth – updated section

  • Handle the tooth at the tip, not the root;
  • If possible re-implant the tooth back in its socket. Ask the casualty to bite on a clean swab to hold the tooth in place;
  • If the tooth is visibly dirty, it can be rinsed under a tap for a maximum of 10 seconds;
  • If re-implanting the tooth is not possible wrap it in cling film or store it in cow’s milk; and
  • Arrange urgent transfer to a dentist.


Spinal injury

Treatment – emphasis change to allow a conscious casualty to protect their own neck and allow them to exit a vehicle if needed and they are able.

Recovery position – increased emphasis on the need to keep an unconscious breathing casualty still and only use the recovery position if the airway is at risk.


Body temperature

Advice on using a mercury thermometer removed and topic replaced with advice on recognising infection in relation to high body temperature. Modern, easy to use thermometers are now available, such as disposable strips that are placed on the forehead or thermometers that read a temperature from the ear.


Heat stroke – updated section


  • Elevated body temperatures;
  • Confusion, agitation, disorientation;
  • Seizures;
  • Throbbing headache;
  • Lowered levels of response leading to unconsciousness;
  • Nausea, vomiting; and
  • Flushed, hot, dry skin (no sweating).


  • Remove the casualty from the heat source;
  • Call 999/112 for emergency help;
  • Cool the casualty rapidly, using fastest method available

A paddling pool can be used to immerse the casualty in cold water from the neck down.


Sepsis and meningitis

Improved layout of recognition table




If you would like any more information about these changes, or are interested in learning first aid, please get in touch on +44 (0)141 244 0181 or