Support For European Cardiac Arrest Awareness Week

02 May 2012

SNP MEP for Scotland, Alyn Smith, has signed a Written Declaration calling for the establishment of a European cardiac arrest awareness week.

There are approximately 400,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests each year in Europe with a survival rate of less than 10%. Early intervention by bystanders administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation have the potential to increase this survival rate to 50%.

The Written Declaration is designed to provide a wider provision of CPR across Europe through awareness-raising and education.

Commenting, Alyn said:

"It is just astonishing to think that there are around 25 cardiac arrest calls to the Scottish Ambulance Service every single day and, sadly, only one in a hundred people in Scotland do survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

"These figures show just how crucial it is to increase education and raise awareness of cardiac arrest in Scotland. Simple emergency treatment, such as CPR, administered by those at the scene of an accident is vital in buying time before an ambulance arrives.

"Having a European cardiac arrest awareness week is a great initiative which will improve education so that more members of the public will know what to do in the event that someone suffers a cardiac arrest while they are out doing the weekly food shop or taking their dog for a walk.

"While I believe that health policy is, and always should be, a local responsibility that is best dealt with domestically rather than on a European level, a European cardiac arrest awareness week would not tread on any toes domestically. Instead it would complement the efforts of the Scottish Government and highlight the need to train as many people as possible in CPR and other life-saving skills.

"I am hopeful that through sharing best practice in Europe, we will be able to dramatically increase the survival rates of people who do suffer a cardiac arrest when out of hospital."

Ben McKendrick, Senior Policy & Public Affairs Manager at British Heart Foundation Scotland, said:

“We are delighted that Alyn is backing this important European proposal. Improving survival from cardiac arrests is a crucial way of stopping people dying from heart disease, which remains Scotland’s single biggest killer. Having such a week would help raise further awareness of our campaign to encourage Scottish local authorities to ensure that Emergency Life Support training, including CPR, is taught at schools across the country.