Scotland

Scottish government plan to raise heart survival rates

Heart attack Image copyright Thinkstock

The Scottish government has claimed 1,000 lives could be saved over the next five years by improving the population's lifesaving skills.

It has launched an action plan to train 500,000 people to help cardiac arrest victims.

Research by the British Heart Foundation indicated 61% of respondents would not feel confident performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Ministers want to increase heart attack survival rates by 10% by 2020.

The Scottish survival rate for cardiac arrests, other than in hospitals, is low compared to the European average. It currently stands at one in 20.

The new strategy will pay particular attention to deprived areas, where cardiac arrest is more common but the chance of receiving appropriate CPR from a bystander is lower.

Public health minister Maureen Watt said: "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 we succeed in our aims, there will be 1,000 lives saved by 2020. That is an ambitious target but it is one that we believe is achievable and well worth aiming for."

British Heart Foundation chief executive Simon Gillespie added: "Scotland has already embraced the concept of creating a nation of lifesavers and we're now supporting around three-quarters of secondary schools in teaching their pupils vital CPR skills.

"This is a real commitment to ensuring Scotland leads the way in creating a nation of lifesavers and improving outcomes for people who suffer a cardiac arrest."

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