Scots lack skills and knowledge to perform CPR

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The British Heart Foundation has warned that more people need to be trained to help save lives

16th October 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Almost half of Scots say they lack the skills and knowledge to save a life by performing CPR.

However, six in ten people would be likely to give it a go if they witnessed a stranger having a cardiac arrest, according to new statistics from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

The BHF warns that a lack of public knowledge of CPR could be costing lives as new findings from the University of Warwick also show that people who have been trained are three times more likely to perform it than people who have not learned CPR skills.

The BHF survey found that the main reasons cited for feeling reluctant to step in and perform CPR were fear of causing more harm than good (47% of people surveyed in Scotland) and lacking the skills and knowledge to perform CPR (39%).

The figures were revealed to mark Restart a Heart Day (Monday 16 October), an annual day of action to increase awareness of the importance of knowing and using CPR by training as many people as possible. BHF Scotland is encouraging schools across the country to apply for a free CPR training kit and help create a nation of lifesavers.

James Cant, director of BHF Scotland, said: "CPR may be the difference between life and death for hundreds of people 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.

"Our survey says that six in ten Scots would give CPR a go. We need to ensure that 10 out of 10 people would perform CPR. We need everyone in Scotland to learn this life-saving skill so they have the confidence to step in and give CPR when someone collapses after a cardiac arrest."

Suffering a cardiac arrest, outside of hospital, is the commonest life-threatening medical emergency but of the 3,500 people living in Scotland who have resuscitation attempted each year, only about one in 20 survives.

BHF Scotland is working with the Scottish Government 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 staging post to increasing rates of bystander CPR.