A SURGE in CPR training has seen the Borders become the Scottish capital for surviving cardiac arrests.
In the space of two years the survival rate for out-of-hospital arrests has risen from just four per cent to a current figure of 29 per cent.
And the huge increase is being linked to new partnership working across the region.
The Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Borders, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Scottish Borders Council and local charities, Avril’s Trust, Scottish HART and Kelso Heartbeat, are all involved in providing life-saving training and equipment.
NHS Borders’ resuscitation officer Rod McIntosh told us: “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.”
The national plan, Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Strategy for Scotland, which was launched in March 2015 has seen the Scottish-wide survival figure also rise from just under 10 per cent to 16 per cent.
Murray McEwan, Scottish Ambulance Service’s national community resilience manager, added: “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.”
Much of the Borders success has been put down to the 10,000 people who have been trained in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation over the past five years.
CPR training has taken place at various primary and secondary schools, as well as within community groups and sports clubs.
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.
David Farries, local senior officer of Scottish Borders for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said: “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 partnership agencies and charities are now appealing to communities or groups considering buying a defibrillator to check new guidance available from www.scotborders.gov.uk/defibguidance. To raise awareness of defibrillators in the local community, anyone who is currently responsible for an AED should register it with pad.scottishambulance.com and www.crowdsav.com.
Jim Fraser, SBC’s Emergency Planning Officer, said: “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.”