More Scots saving lives through CPR, new figures show

By Leigh Taylor

An increasing number of Scots are playing a part in saving the lives of those suffering cardiac arrests, according to new data. 

The figures, showing less Scottish people are dying from cardiac arrests, has brought to light the importance and accessibility of CPR training amongst the general public. 

The stats were released by the Scottish Government’s Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Data Linkage Project, highlighting that during 2018-19, 64% of bystanders were able to perform CPR on those suffering a cardiac arrest outside of hospital, a new record. 

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is the procedure of using chest compressions to aid those suffering cardiac arrest by providing them rescue breaths. CPR training is strongly advocated by a number of groups and organisations, one of them being Save a Life for Scotland, launched in 2015 as a collaboration of emergency services, third sector organisations, local authorities and the Scottish Government.

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

“In October 2015, we set out on a journey together as a partnership 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”. 

A common misconception amongst the public, and one that Save a Life for Scotland hopes to rectify, is that you are more likely to apply CPR to a stranger, but in fact research shows most cardiac arrests occur at home, making it likely that you will have to come to the aid of a family, friend or loved one. 

However, it is still important to remember these incidents can happen anywhere and in a variety of circumstances. Lisa said:

“Hard work has paid off; our bystander CPR rate has increased and most importantly now 1 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 folks living in Scotland who took time to stop and learn”.

If you suspect someone is going into cardiac arrest, call 999 and begin CPR as soon as possible as this can increase chances of survival and bystander CPR can improve the likelihood of survival by between two and three times, according to Save a Life for Scotland. 

Information on how to join the half a million others who have learned CPR can be found on the Save a Life for Scotland website by finding your nearest training centre. 

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