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Help save lives together this summer with South Western Ambulance Service

Residents and tourists to the South West of England this summer are being asked to help Save Lives Together with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) and the region's five Air Ambulance charities.

Latest data released by SWASFT reveals that in the last six years the Trust has responded to and provided a resuscitation attempt for over 21,000 patients, following a cardiac arrest.75% of these patients experienced a cardiac arrest at a private location such as a home or holiday address.

An out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a medical emergency when a person's heart stops beating suddenly, causing them to fall unconscious and to stop breathing normally.Over the past six years, 65% of patients who experienced an OHCA received bystander CPR (chest compressions) before the arrival of the first ambulance response.

Together, SWASFT, Cornwall Air Ambulance, Devon Air Ambulance, Wiltshire Air Ambulance, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity and the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance are encouraging residents and tourists to plan ahead to help Save Lives Together this summer by:

  • Knowing how to describe their exact location in a remote or rural area using What3Words- a free app which converts your location into a unique three word address – so the emergency services can find you.
  • Spending 15 minutes to learn how to do CPR by visiting the SWASFT Saving Lives Together website.
  • Learning where the nearest defibrillator is to their home or holiday address by visiting the SWASFT Saving Lives Together website.

Ollie Zorab, Clinical Lead for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest at South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: "With a high proportion of cardiac arrests taking place at a private location, it will sadly mean that you're more likely to perform CPR on a loved one, than you will on a stranger.

"We wanted to empower people this summer to know what to do, should the worst happen, so you can help us to help you.

"I often hear people say they would be worried about hurting somebody when performing CPR or using a defibrillator. In reality, when someone has a sudden, unexpected cardiac arrest, doing nothing is the only way of making their situation worse.

"Public access defibrillators are simple pieces of equipment which are easy to use and don't require any training, if you have to use a device, it will provide clear instructions telling you what you need to do."

This summer, Saving Lives Together is being supported by the region's air ambulance charities. Last year around one in three missions for the South West's air ambulances were to patients experiencing a cardiac arrest.

Air Ambulance Critical Care Teams are a crucial part of the SWASFT team, especially for time-critical emergencies such as a cardiac arrest. With SWASFT support, Air Ambulance crews are able to deliver hospital level treatment to the scene of an incident very quickly and transport patients to the most suitable hospital. They are also able to reach patients in locations that aren't always accessible by road.

This summer, across SWASFT's social media channels, the Trust will be releasing a number of informative videos to support their Saving Lives Together campaign.

In a life-threatening emergency, dial 999 and request an ambulance. For non-life-threatening emergencies, people can access appropriate care by calling 111, visiting www.111.nhs.uk, contacting their GP or getting advice from a pharmacy.

Ollie Zorab's role as Clinical Lead for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest has been made possible thanks to a grant received by the South Western Ambulance Charity from NHS Charities Together.

Did you know?

  • SWASFT provide emergency and urgent care across an area of 10,000 square miles – covering Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Bristol, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire – which is 20% of mainland England and is predominately rural.
  • It serves a resident population of over 5.5 million people, with an estimated annual influx of more than 23 million tourists, dealing with around 2,650 incidents a day.
  • The service employs more than 4,000 staff across 131 sites including 96 ambulance stations, and two Emergency Operations Centres in Bristol and at headquarters in Exeter.
  • Each year SWASFT provides a resuscitation attempt to over 3,000 people following an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).
  • In the last six years (1 April 2016 to 31 March 2022) SWASFT has responded to and provided a resuscitation attempt for over 21,000 patients.
  • During this time period 75% of these patients experienced a cardiac arrest at a private location such as a home or holiday address, or a care facility including nursing and care homes.
  • In the same period, 19% of patients experienced a collapse in a public place such a public building, education facility, sporting event, street or public highway.
  • The remaining 6% had a cardiac arrest in other locations including healthcare facilities (e.g. GP surgeries) or whilst travelling on board an ambulance.
  • 65% of patients received CPR before the arrival of the first ambulance response.
  • The number of patients who had a public access defibrillator attached to them before the arrival of the first ambulance response has steadily increased from 2.4% (1st April 2016 – 31st March 2017) to 9.2% (1st April 2021 – 31st March 2022).

For the latest news and information, visit www.swast.nhs.uk. Follow it on Twitter @swasFT and like it on Facebook facebook.com/swasFT

South Western Ambulance Charity uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use their service, and to improve the welfare of SWASFT staff and volunteers. For more information and to donate, click on this link.

For more information on the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance click  here

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