Martin Whitfield MSP is backing a new campaign urging defibrillator owners to register their devices on a new national database, called The Circuit, which could help save thousands of lives from cardiac arrests in the coming years.
Funded by the British Heart Foundation, and developed by Microsoft UK, The Circuit is the first ever national defibrillator network in the UK, that integrates with Ambulance dispatch centres to direct bystanders to the nearest defibrillator in case of a cardiac arrest.
There are more than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests every year in the UK, but fewer than one in ten people survive. Every minute that passes without CPR or defibrillation reduces the chances of survival by up to 10 per cent in some instances, but immediate CPR and defibrillation can more than double the chances of survival.
The British Heart Foundation is warning that the UK’s low survival rate is likely to be in part because public access defibrillators are used in less than one in 10 out of hospital cardiac arrests. This is often because 999 call handlers are not always aware that a defibrillator is available nearby because the ambulance service has not been told about it. If they do not know it is there, they cannot direct someone at the scene to retrieve it while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
To help save more lives the charity, alongside Resuscitation Council UK, St John Ambulance, the Scottish Ambulance Service and Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, is urging people who look after defibrillators in places such as offices, communities, shopping centres and leisure centres, as well as in public places, to register them on a pioneering database called The Circuit: The national defibrillator network.
Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“Communities are increasingly aware of the importance of defibrillators, with many more being installed at locations across East Lothian and South Scotland. However, as this campaign highlights, many thousands of defibrillators are still not registered with the ambulance service which can result in them not being used when they are most needed.
“I’m encouraging local groups, organisations and venues that have a defibrillator to register them with the new national database and allow the ambulance service to direct people to the nearest defibrillator when somebody is having a cardiac arrest, wherever they are.
“The British Heart Foundation says that this simple act has the potential to save thousands of lives from cardiac arrests in coming years.”
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of British Heart Foundation, said:
“Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest and, alongside CPR, prompt use of a defibrillator is critical in giving them the best chance of survival. To put it simply, knowing where the nearest defibrillator is could be the difference between life and death.
“The Circuit is pioneering technology which will help emergency services direct bystanders more quickly to a defibrillator when someone collapses with a cardiac arrest. But for The Circuit to save lives, it is vital that the tens of thousands of unregistered defibrillators across the UK are put on the system.
“If you, or somebody you know is a defibrillator guardian, then we urge you to register your device on The Circuit. You could help save a life.”
Find out more about The Circuit and how to register a defibrillator at www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life/defibrillators/national-defibrillator-network-the-circuit.