Londoners are being urged to learn basic first aid skills as new figures highlight the link between the speed in which assistance is provided to heart attack suffers and the chance of survival.
Figures from the London Ambulance service show that almost 10 percent more people whose heart stopped at home or in public were resuscitated and discharged from hospital in 2010/11 than in the previous year.
However the service says members of the public only provided first aid in just over a third of cases which decreases the chances of survival.
London Ambulance Service Medical Director Fionna Moore said: “Thanks to the hard work of our staff in reaching patients quickly and providing an excellent level of care, the number of Londoners surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has gone up for the third consecutive year.
“However, bystanders are only stepping in to help cardiac arrest patients before ambulance staff arrive just over a third of the time. If you witness a cardiac arrest, you can effectively save someone’s life by calling 999 for an ambulance straight away and carrying out basic life support.
“We now have a team of dedicated paramedics funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) who are working in the community to teach people Heartstart, a simple life-saving course.”
Figures show that in locations where staff are trained to use a defibrillator to shock a person’s heart if it stops, the cardiac arrest survival rate is much higher than the rest of London (32 per cent).
There are over 600 public-access defibrillators, donated by the BHF, across London.
Ellen Mason, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the BHF, said: “These statistics show that bystanders are only stepping in to help save a life in little over a third of cases which simply isn’t enough. With each minute that passes before defibrillation, the chances of survival are reduced by about ten per cent.
“The British Heart Foundation’s partnership with the London Ambulance
Service has helped get our Heartstart Emergency Life Support (ELS) skills training and defibrillators to the places they are most needed across the city. We now want more Londoners to sign-up to one of our Heartstart courses and learn ELS – it could save someone’s life.”
For information on how to help someone suffering a cardia arrest visit the London Ambulance website.