New Resuscitation Strategy vital to saving lives, Poots tells Assembly
26 February 2013
We need to increase the number of people who can offer emergency cardiac
arrests skills critical to keeping patients alive until professional help arrives, Health Minister Edwin
Poots today told MLAs.
In a written statement, the Minister updated the Assembly on his plans
to maximise the number of people trained in Emergency Life Support (ELS) through developing the Community
Resuscitation Strategy for Northern Ireland.
He said: “Each year approximately 1,300 cardiac arrests
occur outside a hospital environment. Tragically, fewer than 10% of people who suffer an out-of-hospital
cardiac arrest will survive to be discharged from hospital.
“ELS skills are the key set of actions needed to keep
someone alive until professional help arrives. It includes performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation
(CPR); dealing with choking and serious bleeding; how to put someone in the recovery position, and helping
someone who may be having a heart attack.
“The evidence indicates that in places where there is
a high proportion of the population trained in ELS skills the survival rate for those who suffer an
out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is higher than in areas where the proportion of the population trained
in ELS skills is low. I believe a Northern Ireland community resuscitation strategy will help
to focus a drive to increase the number of people, of all ages, trained in ELS skills and to coordinate
the use of available resources to achieve this.”
In his statement, the Minister told the Assembly he had asked the Chief
Medical Officer to establish a working group to develop a Community Resuscitation Strategy for Northern
Ireland, aimed at coordinating available resources to maximise the number of individuals trained in
The working group will be chaired by the Northern Ireland Ambulance
Service and will include representatives from DHSSPS, Health and Social Care bodies, community and voluntary
bodies involved in resuscitation training as well as representation from other Northern Ireland Departments
such as the Department of Education, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Department
of Social Development. The working group will be asked to have the strategy ready for consultation by
He said: “By extending ELS training and keeping people
alive to allow them to avail of appropriate treatment in hospital, we can maximise the chances of survival
or improved recovery from heart attack. I recognise we have some considerable way to go, however I believe
we need to extend ELS training in order to save more lives.”
Mr Poots acknowledged the valuable work that is already taking place
across Northern Ireland, by the Health and Social Care service and a number of voluntary organisations
such as the British Heart Foundation, ABC for Life, the Red Cross and St John Ambulance.
Notes to Editors
- The Minister’s statement is due to made to the Assembly
at 10.30am February 26, 2013. The full statement can be viewed at www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/csrstatement260213.htm.
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