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Save a Life for Scotland

Published: 16 Oct 2015 09:16

Campaign aims to save 1,000 lives

A national campaign which aims to train half a million people to carry out life-saving CPR will be launched today on Restart a Heart Day.

Save a Life for Scotland is the public-facing campaign behind Scotland's new strategy to improve survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The aim is to train a further 500,000 people in CPR and save an additional 1,000 lives over the next five years.

The campaign will be launched at an event in central Edinburgh organised by the Resuscitation Research Group at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. It will be attended by Maureen Watt, Minister of Public Health, and representatives of the partners involved in the campaign, including Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Ambulance Service, Defence Medical Services, Police Scotland, St Andrew's First Aid, British Red Cross, British Heart Foundation, Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland and the British Association for Immediate Care (BASICS).

Members of the public will be invited to learn the basic skills of CPR, and when to use them. It is estimated that improving knowledge of CPR techniques could more than double survival rates. Big screens around the marquee will show videos telling the stories of survivors, bystanders and also giving information and news from the relevant charities involved.

As part of Save a Life for Scotland there are many opportunities around the country for people to learn CPR. Many fire stations are opening their doors to the public to provide training. More details can be found at

Ms Watt said:

"When a person goes into cardiac arrest it means their heart has stopped completely. The only chance of saving their life is to restart the heart as soon as possible. If they aren't in hospital the chance of a medical professional being close at hand is slim.

"That is why it's so important that members of the public know how to do CPR and are confident enough to try it. The Scottish Government fully backs Save a Life for Scotland. Training an extra 500,000 people in this life-saving skill could save thousands of lives over the next few years.

"CPR is one of the most valuable skills anyone can have. There are many opportunities to learn, just visit or the Facebook page for more details."

The campaign is also being backed by East Lothian father-of-two Gregor Newton, 45, who received CPR from his wife after unexpectedly collapsing at home in April last year.

Gregor said: "It was totally out of the blue. I was fit with no health issues and no health concerns and never expected I would have a cardiac arrest. My son, Harry, found me on the floor and immediately called for his mum, Judy, who was able to start CPR.

"She continued with other bystanders until a local Community First Responder made it to the scene and took over, using a defibrillator to shock my heart back into rhythm. I'm very lucky to still be here and now know how crucial it was to have this early intervention. "

A number of events are taking place around Scotland on Restart a Heart Day to mark the launch of Save a Life for Scotland. Events include awareness days and free training stations taking place at fire stations, ambulance stations and events hosted by St Andrew's First Aid.


For more information visit, or follow
or @savealifescot on Twitter.

Supporting quotes:

Dr. Gareth Clegg, NHS Lothian Consultant in Emergency Medicine and Resuscitation Research Group lead, said:
"Across Scotland, around 3,500 people who suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest undergo attempted resuscitation but only 1 in 20 survive to hospital discharge.

"Receiving really good CPR from a bystander before paramedics arrive can more than double chances of recovery. That is why it is crucial that more people are made aware of how and where they can access CPR training and sign up to take part. Everyone has lifesaving equipment on them – but you need to know how to use it."

Dave Boyle, Assistant Chief Officer and Director of Service Delivery, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said:

"Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is proud to be working in partnership with the British Heart Foundation in a bid to help train as many people as possible in the use of CPR across Scotland. This partnership is one part of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service's commitment to support the Scottish Government's Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy and Save A Life for Scotland campaign. We want to contribute to saving an extra 1000 lives in Scotland by 2020.

"We have a network of fire stations across Scotland and each of them will house a CPR kit. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their local fire officer or fire station and arrange a visit and some training. The training will empower people and give them the skills they need to deliver life-saving assistance to anyone suffering from cardiac arrest.

"We are extremely grateful to the British Heart Foundation for providing the CPR kits and we hope this initiative will save hundreds of lives in the weeks, months and years to come."

Jim Ward, Medical Director, Scottish Ambulance Service, said:

"Our Ambulance crews play a crucial role in treating out of hospital cardiac arrest. We have strengthened our response to these immediate life threatening emergencies by targeting them with more crews and additional training. As a result of these changes, the number of people that we resuscitate at the scene has increased by 10 per cent in the past year.

"We are committed to providing the best quality response across Scotland by extending our world leading 3RU cardiac arrest treatment model and our training efforts remain focussed on developing and improving resuscitation techniques. We continue to develop models of care with communities and responders in remote and rural areas, along with continued support for CPR training programmes and the introduction of public access defibrillators.''

Stuart Callison, Chief Executive, St Andrew's First Aid, said:

"We all know that prompt bystander CPR intervention can literally mean the difference between life and death in the event of cardiac arrest. It follows then that the more people who are trained in basic life support, the safer our communities will be. St Andrew's First Aid is delighted to be involved in this important initiative as it mirrors our own mission that no one should die because they needed first aid and didn't receive it."

Lieutenant Colonel Nicola McCullough, Defence Medical Services, said:

"CPR is a valuable life skill that anyone can perform. We hope to be able to educate and empower the public to do this should it be required. The military in Scotland are passionate about supporting this initiative and saving a life for Scotland."

Catherine Kelly, Director of Prevention, Survival and Support at the British Heart Foundation, said:

"It takes just 30 minutes to learn how to save a life with the BHF's Call Push Rescue training package. And, thanks to our unique partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, one of our kits is now in each fire station in Scotland where local people can learn vital CPR skills and potentially save someone's life.

"By making CPR kits available to each Scottish community, and backing Save a Life for Scotland, we're making real progress in our ambition to create a Nation of Lifesavers."

About the Resuscitation Research Group

The Resuscitation Research Group at the University of Edinburgh is a collaborative involving the University, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Emergency Department at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh along with other academic and industry partners. The group lead Dr Gareth Clegg is a Senior Lecturer at the University and Honorary Consultant at in the Emergency Department at RIE. He is joined by Clinical Fellow Dr Richard Lyon, Resuscitation Officer Steven Short and Scottish Ambulance Service Colin Crookston along with a select group of enthusiasts keen to see cutting edge research translate into clinically relevant patient outcomes. The group also coordinates the Resuscitation Rapid Response Unit (3RU) team.