A NATIONAL push to teach 500,000 Scots CPR has been set in motion as part of ambitious plans to slash the number of deaths from cardiac arrests.
Capital doctors helped to spearhead the Save A Life for Scotland campaign, which launched yesterday in a bid to save an additional 1000 lives over the next five years.
Receiving good CPR – cardiopulmonary resuscitation – can more than double someone’s chance of recovery if they have suffered a cardiac arrest, where the heart stops pumping blood around the body.
CPR helps oxygen continue to circulate in the body, until the heart can be shocked back to life by a defibrillator.
It comes after the Evening News and the Jamie Skinner Foundation (JSF) launched a campaign to install the devices in Lothian sports clubs.
Dr Gareth Clegg, leader of the pioneering Resuscitation Research Group at Edinburgh University and consultant in emergency medicine at NHS Lothian, said: “Across Scotland, around 3500 people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest undergo attempted resuscitation but only one 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.”
All 356 Scottish fire stations have been equipped with CPR training kits by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland, so they can act as a base for people to learn the vital first aid.
Catherine Kelly, director of prevention, survival and support at the BHF, said: “We firmly believe that our unique partnership, to bring life-saving CPR skills to every Scottish community, will mean fewer families will experience the devastation of losing a loved one.”
The drive ties into the Scottish Government’s new cardiac arrest strategy, announced earlier this year.
Public health minister Maureen Watt said: “Training an extra 500,000 people in this life-saving skill could save thousands of lives over the next few years. CPR is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have.”
The launch event held at the Mound yesterday saw hundreds of people take part in demonstrations and sharing selfies on social media pledging to do CPR.
Those taking part included Karen Greechan, secretary of the JSF, which was set up after the tragic death of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner from a cardiac arrest. She said: “It was great seeing young kids doing it, and we took our boys along to have a go. It’s so easy, even a four-year-old could do it.”
The campaign is backed by a string of agencies, including the Scottish Ambulance Service, Police Scotland, and Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland.