short­age of first aid skills cost­ing lives, claims char­ity

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - NEWS - hilary duncanson

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.”

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