Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed the launch of a new strategy which aims to save 1,000 lives from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) over the next five years.
Scotland’s Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy is the first such comprehensive document produced on a national scale anywhere in the world.
£100,000 of health consequential spending resulting from last week’s budget will be used to support delivery of the strategy and improve access to defibrillators.
The strategy sets a goal of increasing survival rates from OHCA by 10 per cent at the end of the five year strategy. This would mean around 1,000 lives being saved by 2020.

Some of the aims are:
• Equipping a further 500,000 people with CPR skills by 2020
• Improved mapping of defibrillators so that emergency call handlers can quickly direct members of the public to them
• Ensure that patients are always taken to a place with appropriate post cardiac arrest care
• To provide better support to survivors and their families and ensure that any any bystanders and others impacted by OHCA are given support after the event
• To reduce inequalities in survival
• To increase people’s confidence to attempt CPR if they witness a cardiac arrest
When a person goes into cardiac arrest their heart and breathing stops, meaning they will die in minutes. Prompt resuscitation, by CPR or if needed, a defibrillator, is essential to improve chances of survival. CPR delivered quickly can increase chances of survival threefold.
The strategy has been jointly produced by a range of stakeholders including the Scottish Government, British Heart Foundation, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland
A key element of the strategy is for all these stakeholders to work together to improve the crucial ‘chain of survival’ from the moment of cardiac arrest, through to hospital admission and into aftercare.

In welcoming this Mr Matheson said:
“Currently around one in 20 people survive cardiac arrest, which is why there is a need to greatly increase that number, and that is what this strategy is all about.

“The best way to ensure that more people survive out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is to increase the number of people who have CPR skills, and crucially, to make sure they are confident enough to attempt resuscitation if the need arises.

“If this strategy succeeds in its aims, there will be 1,000 lives saved by 2020, which I know is an ambitious target, but it is one that the Scottish Government believes is achievable and well worth aiming for.

“I am also pleased to be able to confirm that the Scottish Government will be investing further £100,000 in order to support this strategy