NHS Lothian backs Save a Life for Scotland

A national campaign which aims to train half a million people to carry out life-saving CPR will be launched in Edinburgh today (Friday 16th October) on Restart a Heart Day.

Save a Life for Scotland is the public-facing campaign behind Scotland’s new strategy to improve survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The aim is to train a further 500,000 people in CPR and save an additional 1,000 lives over the next five years.

The campaign will be officially launched at an event in the city centre organised by the Resuscitation Research Group​ – a group bringing together staff from the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Ambulance Service and the Emergency Department at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh to co-ordinate, facilitate and promote quality research in Resuscitation Medicine.

Attended by Maureen Watt, Minister of Public Health, the event which will take place in a marquee on the concourse next to the Scottish National Gallery, will give members of the public the opportunity to learn the basics of CPR techniques and when to use them.

It is estimated that improving knowledge of CPR techniques could more than double survival rates. Big screens around the marquee will show videos telling the stories of survivors, bystanders and also giving information and news from the relevant charities involved.

The campaign is being supported by: Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, the Defence Medical Services, Police Scotland, St Andrew’s First Aid, British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS), who will all have representatives at the event on the day.

Also present will be Gregor Newton, 45, of East Lothian, who survived a cardiac arrest when he received bystander CPR from his wife and then a trained community First Responder after collapsing at home in April last year.

He said: “It was totally out of the blue. I was fit with no health issues and no health concerns and never expected I would have a cardiac arrest. My son, Harry, found me on the floor and immediately called for his mum, Judy, who was able to start CPR.

“She continued with other bystanders until a local Community First Responder made it to the scene and took over, using a defibrillator to shock my heart back into rhythm. I’m very lucky to still be here and now know how crucial it was to have this early intervention. "

Dr. Gareth Clegg, NHS Lothian Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Resuscitation Research Group lead, said: “Across Scotland, around 3,500 people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest undergo attempted resuscitation but only 1 in 20 survive to hospital discharge.

“Receiving really good CPR from a bystander before paramedics arrive can more than double chances of recovery. That is why it is crucial that more people are made aware of how and where they can access CPR training and sign up to take part. Everyone has lifesaving equipment on them – but you need to know how to use it.”

Ms Watt said:“When a person goes into cardiac arrest it means their heart has stopped completely. The only chance of saving their life is to restart the heart as soon as possible. If they aren’t in hospital the chance of a medical professional being close at hand is slim.

“That is why it’s so important that members of the public know how to do CPR and are confident enough to try it. The Scottish Government fully backs Save a Life for Scotland. Training an extra 500,000 people in this life-saving skill could thousands of lives over the next few years.

“CPR is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have. There are many opportunities to learn, all you need to do it visit savealife.scot to find out what’s near you.”

A number of events are taking place around Scotland on Restart a Heart Day to mark the launch of Save a Life for Scotland. Events include awareness days and free training stations taking place at fire stations, ambulance stations and events hosted by St Andrew’s First Aid.

For more information visit savealife.scot, or follow facebook.com/savealifeforscotland

or @savealifescot on Twitter.