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On Wednesday, 16 October, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is joining organisations across the globe who will be teaching lifesaving skills as part of World Restart a Heart Day.

The initiative, led by the Resuscitation Council (UK) in partnership with ambulance trusts across the UK, the British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross and St John Ambulance, aims to improve survival rates from out of hospital cardiac arrests.

According to the latest figures from NHS England, only 8.5% of people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment survive. A person’s chances of survival decrease by 10% with every minute that passes with the patient receiving CPR (chest compressions) or a shock from a defibrillator.

Nicola Dunbar, Head of Community Engagement & Training at SCAS, who is leading the Trust’s participation in World Restart a Heart Day, said:

“Whilst here in the South Central region our cardiac arrest survival rate is the best in England at over 13%, there is still more we can do to match survival rates elsewhere in Europe which can be as high as 25%. Research undertaken by the Resuscitation Council (UK)1 has shown that less than 1 in 3 people who’ve not had any professional training on a CPR course are likely to help someone who has collapsed and stopped breathing. Put simply, the more people we can train in CPR then the more people will have a chance of surviving a cardiac arrest.”

On World Restart a Heart Day, SCAS staff and volunteer community first responders will be working alongside medically trained personnel from local police, fire and military services, at 55 schools across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire, to teach students how to perform CPR and use a defibrillator. Other CPR training sessions will also be taking place at hospitals, in organisations and at public events in the South Central region, with the aim of teaching 10,000 people these lifesaving skills on World Restart a Heart Day.

On Restart a Heart Day 2018, a record 8,170 people were trained in CPR and defibrillation; a 44% increase on the numbers trained in 2017.

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Notes to Editors

1The survey of 2,326 people was undertaken by YouGov between 17-20 September 2019. It was carried out online and figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 16+).

SCAS has had the highest out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rate of all English ambulance trusts every year since 2012/13. Data published monthly by NHS England and available here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ambulance-quality-indicators/