Over a quarter of Scots say they would not attempt CPR to save a life

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Picture credit: Claire Fleck Photography

BHF Scotland urges more local authorities to teach life saving CPR in schools

15th October 2018 by Sophie Bell 0 Comments

More than a quarter of adults (26%) in Scotland wouldn’t perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if they saw someone suffer a cardiac arrest, according to the latest statistics from the British Heart Foundation. 

Researchers from the University of Warwick Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Outcome (OHCAO) Registry team worked with YouGov to survey over 4,000 UK adults. Participants were asked questions about their knowledge of CPR, and whether they would feel confident in performing it on someone who had had a cardiac arrest.

The figures were revealed on Restart a Heart Day (16 October), an annual campaign to raise awareness of the importance of learning CPR skills, which will today see over 200,000 people across the UK trained in CPR.

BHF Scotland is today stepping up its calls for local authorities across Scotland to commit to ensuring that all pupils leave secondary school equipped with these life-saving skills.

James Cant, director of BHF Scotland, said: “CPR may be the difference between life and death for thousands of Scots every year who suffer a cardiac arrest. Every second counts, and it simply isn’t enough to hope that someone who knows CPR is present.

“We’ve made great progress in Scotland this year, with ten councils now signed up to make sure their pupils learn this essential skill. And we were delighted to see the commitment from the SNP at last week’s party conference to encourage their local authorities to back the campaign.

“But there is still so much more to be done so that everyone in Scotland has the knowledge and confidence to step in and give CPR when someone collapses after a cardiac arrest. Restart a Heart Day is the ideal date to call on the remaining councils in Scotland to make this commitment to help save lives.”

Suffering a cardiac arrest, outside of hospital, is the commonest life-threatening medical emergency but of around 3,500 people living in Scotland who have resuscitation attempted each year, only about 1 in 12 survives. Whereas, in countries where CPR is taught in schools, as many as one in four survive.

A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart stops pumping blood around their body. Early CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival in some cases. 

Miro's story

Miro Dragic, from Edinburgh, is all too aware of the importance of CPR after his life was saved on the tennis court in July 2017.

Miro, 51, was playing a doubles game at the capital’s Drummond Tennis Club when he suddenly collapsed. Thanks to the quick action of other players, he’s still here to tell the tale. Two of them performed CPR on him, while another dialled 999.

Miro says: “If I hadn’t been with people who were willing to give CPR a go, I wouldn’t be here today. That’s why I would like to see more people learning these important skills, and all council signing up to teach them. The more people who know CPR, the more lives can be saved.”

Now back at work as an IT manager and back on the tennis court, Miro is supporting the call for local authorities to commit to ensure that every secondary pupil in their area receives CPR training at an appropriate stage in the curriculum.

Miro says: “I was very lucky and I want to do what I can to help others have the same positive outcome from a cardiac arrest. Today I’m feeling well and almost back to full fitness, but too many other people don’t have that second chance.”

BHF Scotland is one of the charity organisations working with the Scottish Government, Scottish Ambulance Service and  NHS Scotland, as a partner of Save a Life for Scotland, to deliver Scotland’s Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Strategy. The aim is to equip an additional 500,000 people with CPR skills by 2020 as an essential step to increase rates of bystander CPR and using a defibrillator.

Local CPR training courses are available through Save a Life For Scotland and the BHF has partnered with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to make CPR training available to all communities across Scotland.

62% of eligible secondary schools in Scotland already have a BHF Call Push Rescue training kit and the Restart a Heart campaign is a great opportunity for schools to run CPR lessons to ensure all pupils learn life saving skills in October. Schools who don’t yet have the kit can also apply to receive one free from the BHF.

The Restart a Heart Day campaign in the UK is organised jointly by the BHF, the Resuscitation Council (UK), St John Ambulance, the British Red Cross, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and emergency services a across the country. This year for the first time, the day will be marked globally, as training and awareness events take place for World Restart a Heart Day.