60,000 Scots trained in CPR

Review of first year of out of hospital cardiac arrest strategy published

More than 60,000 people across Scotland have been given life-saving CPR training in the last 12 months - as part of an unprecedented national collaboration of more than a dozen organisations including emergency services, defence and third sector - to improve the response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

The figure was published today in a Scottish Government report reviewing progress in the first year of Scotland’s Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy.

The five-year strategy aims to save 1,000 extra lives by 2020 and equip an additional half a million people in Scotland with CPR skills.

Minister for Public Health, Aileen Campbell, launched the review on a visit to Beeslack High School in Penicuik, where she joined P7 and S1 pupils in a CPR training session.

Ms Campbell said: “Each year in Scotland there are around 3,000 cardiac arrests out-of-hospital. Cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart completely stops and, if this happens, CPR must be administered within minutes or the person will likely die.

“That is why CPR training and education is so vitally important.

“Indeed we know that over three-quarters of people believe that everyone should be trained in CPR, although only half of people have had the training.

“Our strategy aims to equip as many people as possible with these life-saving skills as well as looking at how our healthcare and emergency services can support a rapid and effective response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

“Over the last year some very promising progress has been made. This is thanks, in no small part, to the great efforts of all of our partners involved in this work.

“We are now looking to build on these solid foundations going in to next year, with a focus in 2017 on raising awareness amongst young people about the importance of CPR.”

The report, Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest – A Strategy for Scotland Review 2015-16, details a series of key results achieved in the strategy’s first year as well as setting out the priorities for 2017.

The key achievements include:

  • The establishment of Save a Life for Scotland as the banner under which all partner organisations are raising awareness of CPR activity and signposting to, and delivering training activities.
  • The training of over 60,000 people in CPR skills since the strategy launched in October 2015.
  • The British Heart Foundation supplied ‘Call-Push-Rescue’ training kits to all 356 Scottish Fire and Rescue stations, which local communities can access.
  • In November 2015, the Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service began trialling a co-response system for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest at ten stations. Initial evidence suggests that this has contributed to a reduction in response times and improved patient outcomes.
  • Numerous CPR training events held in schools, shopping malls and at major events like the Royal Highland Show and the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Actions in 2017 include:

  • The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will be trialling an initiative in three pilot areas across Scotland to raise awareness and provide information on how to assist someone experiencing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest during Home Fire Safety Visits.
  • Save a Life for Scotland will launch a social media campaign with Young Scot to explore young peoples’ knowledge and attitude towards CPR – including how best to engage them in training opportunities.
  • Police Scotland will begin trialling the use of defibrillators by roads policing units in Grampian, with a view to inform the option of a further roll-out.
  • Scottish Ambulance Service are in the process of mapping the locations of all Public Access Defibrillators (PADs), to be completed next year.

The next phase of the strategy will prioritise engaging with, and training young people in CPR as well as building links with communities that have disproportionately poorer outcomes from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to increase skills and awareness.

Dr Gareth Clegg, Resuscitation Research Group lead, University of Edinburgh, said: “Every week across Scotland the equivalent of a full double decker bus load of people have resuscitation attempted after out-of-Hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

“Unfortunately only around 1 in 20 of these people will return home to their families alive.

“Scotland’s strategy for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest brings together a range of partners from emergency services to third sector organisations. Together we have the opportunity to save hundreds of lives across the country, but we need the help of the people of Scotland.

“By being willing to perform bystander CPR, any of us could dramatically increase the chance of an OHCA victim’s survival. The people of Scotland have the power to save lives in our hands.”

“Be ready to save a life - find training near you by visiting www.savealife.scot.”


The report Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest – A Strategy for Scotland Review 2015-16 can be viewed here: www.gov.scot/outofhospitalcardiacarrest

A cardiac arrest and heart attack are different. A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops and unless immediately treated by CPR this will lead to death within minutes. A heart attack is a sudden interruption to the blood supply to part of the heart muscle, causing chest pain and likely permanent damage to the heart. The person remains conscious and is still breathing. Both a heart attack and a cardiac arrest are life-threatening medical emergencies and require immediate medical help.

The Save a Life for Scotland partnership includes a wide range of organisation from the public and voluntary sectors: The Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Defence Medical Services, Police Scotland, The British Heart Foundation, The British Red Cross, St Andrew’s First Aid, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, The Royal Life Saving Society Scotland, Trossachs Search and Rescue, Lucky 2 B Here, The Resuscitation Research Group at the University of Edinburgh, and affiliated supporters including BASICS Scotland, NHS Scotland, Higher Education Institutions, Heartstart (BHF) and Council representatives.

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