Importance of prioritising treatment during first aid

Prioritising treatment in first aid: A critical element in emergency response

In the critical moments following an accident or during a medical emergency, first aid remains an essential intervention that can save lives or mitigate serious harm. Understanding and prioritising treatment effectively are fundamental components of first aid that ensure rapid and appropriate care is delivered when it matters most. In this blog, Rose explores the pivotal role of prioritising treatment within first aid, underpinned by key facts, definitions, and current best practices in compliance with relevant UK legislation and regulations.

The importance of first aid

First aid is the immediate assistance given to anyone suffering from either a minor or severe illness or injury, with care provided to preserve life, prevent the condition from worsening, or to promote recovery. It involves a range of responses, from the simple administration of a plaster to the critical management of a cardiac arrest. According to the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981, it is mandatory for employers to provide adequate and appropriate equipment, facilities, and personnel to ensure their employees receive immediate attention if they are injured or taken ill at work.

Key statistics

  • Research shows that timely first aid intervention can increase survival rates by up to 50%.
  • Approximately 30% of deaths in the UK could potentially be prevented by basic first aid knowledge.

Definitions and terminology

  • First aid - The immediate care given to a person who has been injured or is in urgent need of medical help before the arrival of qualified medical assistance.
  • ABCs of first aid - A mnemonic for essential emergency protocols:
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation

Relevant legislation and best practices

  • Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 - Mandates employers to ensure that all workplaces have a sufficient number of trained first-aiders, appropriate first aid kits, and facilities. This includes conducting a needs assessment to determine the level of first aid equipment and personnel required based on the specific circumstances of the workplace.
  • Resuscitation council UK guidelines - These guidelines are crucial for first aid as they provide detailed protocols for performing CPR and managing emergency cardiovascular care. These are regularly updated to reflect the latest clinical research and are considered the gold standard for resuscitation procedures in the UK.

Prioritising treatment - Key steps

Assess the situation

Quickly assess the scene to ensure safety for yourself, the casualty, and others. Determine the number of casualties and the nature of their conditions.

Follow the ABCs

Airway - Ensure that the casualty’s airway is clear.

Breathing - Check if the casualty is breathing and, if not, prepare to administer CPR.

Circulation - Address severe bleeding or signs of shock, which are immediate threats to life.

Call for help

Dial 999 as soon as possible if professional medical help is needed. Do not delay calling for professional help while administering first aid unless absolutely necessary.

Provide appropriate care

Based on the assessment, provide the necessary first aid interventions, from applying pressure to a bleed to performing CPR.


  • Training - Regular first aid training for as many people as possible enhances community and workplace safety.
  • Awareness - Promote awareness of the importance of first aid and encourage people to refresh their knowledge periodically.
  • Legislation compliance - Ensure all organisational first aid practices comply with current UK laws and guidelines, particularly those stipulated by the Health and Safety Executive and Resuscitation Council UK.


First aid is not just a regulatory requirement but a critical skill everyone should learn. Prioritising treatment during emergencies can be the difference between life and death. As part of our commitment to health and safety, The Mandatory Training Group offers comprehensive first aid training courses tailored to meet the needs of various sectors, ensuring that individuals are compliant and competent and confident to act when needed.

Be prepared - Enrol now

Are you ready to take a vital step towards ensuring safety in your workplace or community? Click here to explore our accredited first aid training courses and qualifications and start making an emergency preparedness and response. Equip yourself, your staff, and your community with the skills to save lives. Take a first aid course today and be the difference in an emergency.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

A critical element in emergency response - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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