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A lifesaving programme to help improve survival rates after a cardiac arrest is being supported with almost £2.5m over the next three years by the Welsh Government.

First published:
6 July 2021
Last updated:

The funding will enable Save a Life Cymru to raise awareness about the cardiac arrest chain of survival and fund new educational and training resources, including improving public access to defibrillators.

The programme aims to educate people in Wales about the need to help anyone suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and help develop their skills and confidence to provide CPR and defibrillation.

It comes as figures show Wales has one of the lowest survival rates in Europe and the lowest in the UK if someone suffers an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest – a survival rate of just 4.6% in Wales, this is less than half that of England (9.4%); lower than Scotland (10.2%); Norway (25%) and the Netherlands (21%).

Health Minister Eluned Morgan said:

It is vital we educate people about what to do when someone suffers a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital setting. By raising awareness of the basic skills needed to carry out CPR and use a defibrillator, we can make a significant difference to survival rates.

This funding will help communities to work with Save a Life Cymru and the Welsh Ambulance Service to improve the provision and maintenance of defibrillators and to improve the skills to help save lives.

We are proud to be funding this programme, which will link with schools, local businesses, community and town councils, sports clubs and academies across Wales, and hope it will benefit future generations to come.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a public health challenge that needs resources to educate and inform people about how they can help someone in need. It is estimated 6,000 people have an out-of-hospital cardia arrest in Wales each year.

It is hoped that education about the dangers of cardiac arrest and providing people with CPR and defibrillation training will lead to better health outcomes and survival rates.

The funding will enable Save a Life Cymru to carry out the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Plan. It will also feature partnership initiatives with Cardiff University, Home Builder’s Federation and the Football Association of Wales.

Prof Len Nokes, who is Chair of the SALC Partnership, club doctor for Cardiff City F.C and pitch doctor for the Football Association of Wales, said:

I am delighted that Welsh Government are supporting Save a Life Cymru to continue to deliver on the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Plan.

As we have recently seen at Euro 2020, anyone can have a cardiac arrest. Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch and he owes his life to his team mates and the medical team who performed CPR and used a defibrillator to save his life.

Not everyone will have a medical team close at hand when they have a cardiac arrest and therefore our aim at Save a Life Cymru is to inspire everyone in Wales to learn CPR and defibrillation skills to help save more lives.

This Welsh Government funding will help us to work with communities across Wales. Lives can be saved, but we need people that are willing and able to help.

The funding will also expand the provision of officers trained to work with communities to boost the provision and maintenance of defibrillators across Wales, similar to the charity funded defibrillator support officer for North Wales who is based within the Welsh Ambulance Service.