Activity First Aid course run by St. John Ambulance at Wallisdown, Poole
First Aid is both about the basic knowledge to make a potentially life-saving difference and about having the confidence to deal with a medical situation. Being a regular hillwalker and also a classic Cambridge undergraduate medical student [i.e. one who might be able to tell you the metabolic intermediates in the Krebs Cycle or what receptors mepyramine works at (actually I probably can't tell you these anymore) but wouldn't have a clue about how to actually do anything], I though it was time I learned some useful practical skills!
The first day involved an introduction to first aid (with some refreshingly simple physiology), followed by practising putting people in the recovery position and doing CPR on (although it seemed more like trying to do GBH to) Annie, from which arose the important question of why all female resuscitation manikins have this name. We also looked at burns, choking and seizures. On the second day we dealt with bleeding and bone and muscle injuries and practised tying bandages and slings while our instructor regaled us with stories of all the bits of fingers cleared from the cutting machines in the factory he once worked in. Allergic reactions, shock, bites and stings, burns, hypothermia and low blood sugar were also dealt with. A special question about how to deal with broken teeth, should someone in a group manage to fall on a rock (Alex!) then brought that day to a close.
The two-day Activity First Aid Course was certainly an extremely good general introduction to First Aid if you have not done any before, and it is a suitable course for those wishing to do ML. The course is designed for those involved with outdoor activities and, indeed, all 5 of us on the course had specific involvement with such activities. That said, the "Emergency First Aid" or "Mountain First Aid" courses such as those run at Plas-y-Brenin would have more direct relevance to hillwalking, but in terms of value-for-money and convenience I suspect the St John Ambulance Activity course is one of the best around.