More people giving CPR

Report highlights strategy’s progress.

Bystanders performed CPR on 64% of people who suffered a cardiac arrest outside of hospital last year, a record figure.

The finding was one of many improvements highlighted in the Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Data Linkage Project: 2018/19 which also showed that, for the first time, more than one person in ten who suffers a cardiac arrest outside of hospital is surviving and leaving hospital. 

The 64% figure is a significant increase on the 41% figure in 2015 when Scotland’s Strategy for OHCA was launched, and when the survival rate was one in 20 rather than one in ten. 

Welcoming publication of the report Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick said:

“The fact that a higher proportion of people who suffer a cardiac arrest are able to go home to family and friends is excellent news and the fact that more people are equipped with the skills and confidence to help others bodes well for the future.

“Swiftly starting CPR can increase the likelihood of survival after cardiac arrest by two or three times so increasing the number of bystanders who can perform CPR is vitally important.  That is why I am delighted that the Save a Life for Scotland partnership has successfully equipped more than half a million people with CPR skills a year earlier than planned, through training and events across the country.

“I thank all of those involved for their tremendous efforts in delivering the aims of the strategy and allowing many people to live for longer.”

Mike Pinkerton, 43, suffered a cardiac arrest three years ago. Recently, he had the chance to meet the people who saved his life. Vet Henrietta Linnemann sprang into action, performing CPR on him until Paramedics Robin Yuill, Mark Dickson and Technician Ryan Peat had arrived. Mike said:

“I still have absolutely no memory of what happened that morning. It was fantastic to finally meet Ryan, Robin and Mark and thank them in person for doing such a great job – I know they’ll often never get the chance to hear from or about the people they’ve helped.”

Lisa MacInnes, Campaign Director of Save a Life for Scotland, said:

“In October 2015, we set out to raise awareness of cardiac arrest and help people living in Scotland get CPR ready. At the time, the target of reaching 500,000 seemed a long way off.

“However, with the hard work and dedication of the fantastic Save a Life for Scotland partnership we have surpassed this milestone over a year ahead of schedule and we're keeping on counting, aiming to reach as many people as we can.

“That hard work has paid off, our bystander CPR rate has increased and most importantly now one in 10 people will be going home to their families. This amazing achievement belongs to every person who helped spread the life-saving message of CPR across communities throughout Scotland and especially the 500,000 people in Scotland who took time to stop and learn. Working in partnership together really has saved lives."   


 You can read Scotland’s Strategy for OCHA.

Within the strategy was an aim of familiarising 500,000 people with CPR skills by 2020 – this report shows that figure has already been surpassed with 510,000 people having been equipped.

The definition of a cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body and they stop breathing normally.

The OHCA Data Linkage Project has been taking steps to improve data collection and reporting on OHCA, to track patient outcomes and measure the impact of the strategy.  The project links Scottish Ambulance Service data with hospital and deaths data.

The Save a Life for Scotland Partnership (SALFS) is composed of emergency services, third sector organisations, community responder groups, the Scottish Government and academic partners. 

CPR events are widely held all across Scotland. If you would like to get involved please visit to find events near you.

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