shortage of first aid skills costing lives, claims charity
A charity has called for more to be done to end a “postcode lottery” over people’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest in the community.
St Andrew’s First Aid is demanding greater action from Scottish Government to address a “shortage” of first aid skills and help save more lives in areas of social deprivation.
It comes after figures revealed people living in the most deprived areas are 43% less likely to survive an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) than those living in more affluent places.
The report on the Scottish OHCA Data Linkage Project, published by ministers this summer, found that around 3,000 OHCAS happen every year in Scotland and they can affect people of all ages.
However, survival rates in Scotland are estimated at between just six and eight per cent, lower than the European average of around 10%, the charity said.
The report also revealed that those living in the most deprived areas of the country are twice as likely to suffer an OHCA as people living in the least deprived areas – 28% against 14%.
People in rural areas are 32% less likely to survive to leave hospital, and those from the most deprived areas are 43% less likely to survive compared to those from the least deprived spots, the report outlined.
St Andrew’s First Aid says the findings add weight to their efforts to ensure people across the country are equipped with vital life saving skills.
The organisation has gained the support of former Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont.
Stuart Callison, chief executive of St Andrew’s First Aid, said: “The report has identified a number of factors which indicate a very real link between areas of social deprivation and a person’s chances of surviving an OHCA.
“If it were mandatory for people to have even basic First Aid skills, these factors could be greatly reduced.”