Scottish Borders leading the way on cardiac arrest survival rates

Representatives holding portable defibrillators in front of A&E department

Published: Friday, 21st April 2017

The Scottish Borders has one of the highest survival rates for cardiac arrests, thanks to local partnership working and support of a national strategy.

Prior to March 2015, the survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the area was just four per cent, below the Scottish average of 7 to 10 per cent.

Cardiac arrest survival rate increase

Two years on, the figure for the Borders has risen to 29 per cent.

This is partly due to the work of partners:

  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • NHS Borders
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Avril’s Trust
  • Scottish HART
  • Kelso Heartbeat

Their work has been supported by national plan Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Strategy for Scotland, which was launched in March 2015.

The Scottish figure has also risen since the launch of the strategy, to 16 per cent.

Borders training in CPR

The Borders success has been put down to the 10,000 people who have been trained in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in around five years.

CPR training has taken place across the area, including pupils at various primary and secondary schools, community groups, sports clubs members and the general public.

The British Heart Foundation have also provided CPR training kits to all Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stations in the country for local communities who want to learn the life-saving skills.

Partners are now appealing to communities or groups considering buying an automated external defibrillator (AED) to check new guidance on defibrillators.

Registering defibrillators

To raise awareness of defibrillators in the local community, anyone who is currently responsible for an AED should register it with:

Rod McIntosh,  NHS Borders’ Resuscitation Officer

“To assist with this initiative, in 2014 NHS Borders gifted 50 defibrillators to Scottish HART for use across our region as well as two defibrillators to Borders College who committed to provide their staff and students with CPR training.

“Since then NHS Borders has continued to work closely with partner organisations to deliver training and raise awareness of defibrillators in the community. We are delighted to see that this collaborative working is delivering positive results and saving lives.”

Murray McEwan, Scottish Ambulance Service’s National Community Resilience Manager, said: “By increasing the amount of public access defibrillators, this initiative enhances the chances of survival for a patient suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

“By registering a public access defibrillator, the Scottish Ambulance Service will look to provide life-saving instructions as well as advise members of the community on how to use the nearest available defibrillator.”

David Farries, Local Senior Officer of Scottish Borders, SFRS

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to have been involved in this collaborative approach to producing this guidance document that will benefit the resilience of our communities within the Scottish Borders.

“We feel the guidance supports the Scottish Government’s five year strategy for out of hospital cardiac arrests, helping us to contribute to saving an additional 1,000 lives and training an additional 500,000 people in CPR.

“The SFRS is a key stakeholder in this strategy. We are extremely active across the country, providing CPR instruction from all of our community fire stations and also providing an enhanced operational response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in support of the Scottish Ambulance Service in selected areas including the Borders.”  

Jim Fraser, Emergency Planning Officer

“Over the past few years Scottish Borders Council has provided grant funding of approximately £20,000 from various funding streams for defibrillators, cabinets and training to local communities and Resilient Communities groups throughout the Scottish Borders area.

“We are pleased to see this guidance published and would encourage those who already have public access defibrillators to register them with the Scottish Ambulance Service and CrowdSav. Doing so could save a life.”

Get training on using automated external defibrillators

Training for AED use within the Scottish Borders can be provided by contacting the following organisations and charities: