Geoffrey's Lifesaving Legacy to
Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival
When we learned that the South Western Ambulance Charity had been left a very generous legacy of £105,000, we knew we had to use it to make a really big difference to people in South West communities.
Data tells us that 3 out of 4 cardiac arrests that happen outside of hospital, happen at home. Once in cardiac arrest a patient’s chance of survival reduces by 10% for every minute that passes without access to life-saving CPR chest compressions and a defibrillator.
Head of Charity, Zoe Larter, is working with South Western Ambulance Service colleagues to develop a programme to increase the number of life-saving public access defibrillators installed in communities that are most in need of them. The defibrillators are being targeted on specific local neighbourhoods experiencing health inequalities based on criteria including; the number of active defibrillators already in the area, statistical indices of multiple deprivation (IMD rating), the percentage of residents aged over 65 and the number of Category 1 (the most serious) incidents logged by the South Western Ambulance Service in the last 12 months.
However, it’s not enough just to put a defibrillator in a community. The survival of a person experiencing a cardiac arrest also depends on someone being prepared to start CPR and to use that defibrillator to deliver a shock if necessary. That could be a family member, a friend, a work colleague, or a stranger, but with the support of a 999 Emergency Medical Dispatcher on the end of a telephone, they could start CPR and use a defibrillator to give the patient the best possible chance until an ambulance crew arrives.
This programme, linked to the South Western Ambulance Service ‘Saving Lives Together’ campaign, will work with local groups, businesses and individuals in the target neighbourhoods to find appropriate locations to install defibrillators and appoint a ‘Guardian’ to look after each one. It will also explore the best ways to engage and support local people to get the skills and confidence they need to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and to do life-saving CPR chest compressions.
Fundraising Manager, Louise Walsh, said;
“This incredible legacy from Geoffrey was unexpected and gifted to our Charity to use for whatever purpose we felt was most appropriate. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to consider how it could best be used to support South West patients and our ambulance service. We would have loved to know more about our generous donor and his final wishes, although we understood that he left money to several charities that were important to him. We are extremely grateful to him for leaving this generous gift that will carry on helping to save lives for many years to come.”