Posted: Sat 6th Jan 2024

Wales takes the lead among the home nations in cardiac arrest support with launch of community coordinators

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Jan 6th, 2024

In a groundbreaking move aimed at improving cardiac arrest survival rates, Save a Life Cymru has appointed six community coordinators in Wales.

The initiative, which includes two coordinators based in north Wales, seeks to revolutionise the accessibility of CPR and defibrillation support across the nation.

Data has revealed that in Wales, the survival rate after experiencing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) remains disconcertingly low, at less than 5%, compared to their UK counterparts, who stand at 10%.

Save a Life Cymru’s new community coordinators are determined to change this narrative and position Wales at the forefront of strategies for cardiac arrest survival among the home nations.

The community coordinators’ primary responsibilities include collaborating with local communities, third-sector organisations, and charitable trusts to educate the public about Basic Life Support (BLS) awareness and training.

They will also emphasise the four vital links of the cardiac arrest chain of survival: early recognition and call for help, early CPR, early defibrillation, and post-resuscitation care.

One significant aspect of their role involves providing hands-on advice and support regarding Public Access Defibrillators (PADs).

They will work closely with communities to ensure the registration and maintenance of every defibrillator on The Circuit, a critical step in enabling 999 call handlers to alert bystanders to nearby defibrillators during emergencies.

Unregistered defibrillators will not be recognised by the ambulance service.

The urgency of early response cannot be overstated, as each passing minute without life-saving CPR and defibrillation decreases the patient’s likelihood of survival by 10%.

The community coordinators are dedicated to building confidence among the public so that they act swiftly if they encounter a cardiac arrest situation, including attempting CPR, receiving guidance from call handlers, and accessing a defibrillator.

To ensure support is available even in the most rural locations, each coordinator is responsible for a specific geographical area in Wales. All six coordinators have extensive experience in the healthcare profession, including 999 call-takers, resuscitation practitioners, and experienced paramedics.

Meet the Coordinators:

  • Chris West – Team Leader for North Wales
  • Tomos Hughes – North Wales
  • Sian Davis – Team Leader for South Wales
  • Chris Joyce – South East Wales
  • Haden Tipples – Central South Wales
  • Marc Gower – South West Wales

Tomos Hughes, community coordinator for north Wales, emphasised the importance of their work, saying, “Many people mistakenly believe that cardiac arrests exclusively affect men within a specific age group, but a cardiac arrest can occur to people of all ages and genders, anywhere and at any time, irrespective of their health status. This is why our work as community coordinators is important. We want to ensure there is an equal opportunity for survival for everyone throughout Wales.”

Julie Starling, manager for the Community Coordinator team and the Clinical Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Programme Manager for Wales, expressed her delight at being the first of the home nations to appoint CPR and defib community coordinators. She highlighted the long-term goal of providing enhanced support to all communities, including north Wales, with the aim of increasing cardiac survival rates throughout the country.

“Our coordinators are already out and about in their local communities and are committed to helping educate and support people with their CPR and defibrillation skills. Witnessing a cardiac arrest is a scary thing, but we want communities in Wales to feel as prepared as possible if they are in that situation and have the confidence to help. The more bystanders that help and communities that are equipped, the better our cardiac survival rates will be.”

Save a Life Cymru, serving as the strategic lead in Wales, is dedicated to improving cardiac arrest survival rates. They advocate for CPR and defibrillation within communities and urge individuals to learn or refresh these life-saving skills. The organisation’s ‘Help is Closer Than You Think’ campaign, supported by sporting legends Shane Williams and Aaron Ramsey, aims to give people the confidence to act quickly if a cardiac arrest happens.

To get in touch with your community coordinator, you can email SaveALifeCymru@wales.nhs.uk or achubbywydcymru@wales.nhs.uk.

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