Report: Heart attack survival rates ‘dire’

SURVIVAL rates for people suffering cardiac arrest in the East Midlands are dire, according to a new report.

And the statistics will further fuel the arguments of protestors who believe that increasing journey times for ambulances coming to the High Peak from the other side of the M1 will have fatal consequences.

Figures released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) show that in June, only 7.5 per cent of witnessed cardiac arrest casualties attended by East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) paramedics survived to leave hospital – just three out of 40 casualties.

The figures will be of great concern for many local residents who are worried that response times for High Peak residents will suffer dramatically if EMAS plans to close the area’s ambulance stations go ahead meaning High Peak ambulance crews would have to travel to a hub at junction 29 of the M1 – the other side of Chesterfield – to pick up and drop off their vehicle at the start and end of each shift.

In April last year, the Department of Health began collecting cardiac arrest survival rates. Since then, survival rates from witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests where CPR and a defibrillator could have helped have shown no sustained improvement., having peaked nationally at 28 per cent in May 2011 but not risen above 20 per cent this year.

Where you live could determine your chances of surviving a witnessed cardiac arrest, according to the statistics. While the East Midlands recorded a rate of 7.5 per cent, the figures for Wiltshire and Gloucestershire are 33 per cent.

The BHF said that for survival rates in the East Midlands to improve, more bystanders need to help by doing CPR and so is bringing back its Hands-only CPR advertising campaign featuring ex-footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Many people can survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest if they receive immediate CPR.

“Sadly, in the vast majority of cases in the UK this doesn’t happen. We know Hands-only CPR works but more bystanders need to step in if we’re ever to see the majority become the minority.

“The great thing about Hands-only CPR is you don’t need any special skills or to remember how to do the kiss of life. It’s simple, you can’t do any harm and you may well save a life.

“We know of at least 28 people who are alive today simply because the person standing next to them when they collapsed did what Vinnie told them to do in our