'Cutting edge' defibrillators fitted in Scottish ambulances

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AmbulanceImage source, Getty Images

The latest generation of defibrillators are being installed in ambulances across Scotland.

The devices record the vital signs of critically ill patients and send the data to hospitals ahead of their arrival.

The Scottish Ambulance Service is spending £25m on fitting the cutting edge technology in all of its 550 emergency vehicles.

It says the project will free up paramedics to focus on patients.

The devices automatically pass data, such as how many shocks a patient has received and changes in heart rate, into the care record passed to medics.

Ambulance service director Jim Ward said the equipment will be particularly useful when transferring patients from some of the most remote parts of Scotland.

He said: "Fitting our ambulances with these new defibrillators puts Scotland at the cutting edge of this new technology, so we are delighted patients are going to benefit from it.

"The new devices essentially do the same key job of helping to restart a patient's heart - in addition they also automatically record a patient's vital signs, freeing the ambulance crew from recording this data manually and enabling them to give more focus to patients."

Image caption,
Paramedics have been testing out the new equipment

'Focus on the patients'

Paramedics and technicians using the new Corpuls3 devices will also be able to record which drugs they have administered to patients.

Paul Gowens, lead consultant paramedic with the Scottish Ambulance Service, said some of the equipment they are replacing is up to a decade old.

"This will definitely benefit patient outcomes and save lives," he said.

"Sending more information more quickly is really important when it comes to the decision making at the other end so the hospital can be ready for the patient when they arrive.

"It also gives a greater clarity for the crews as the screen is laid out a lot clearer, and it allows the crews to focus on the patients rather than the paperwork."