St John Scotland welcomes launch of new Cardiac Arrest strategy

Publication date 24 March 2021

Today sees the launch of an ambitious new strategy to increase survival rates in Scotland from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

OHCA affects more than 3,000 people each year in Scotland, and current survival rates are around one in ten.

The Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy 2021–2026 is a five-year plan delivered by a wide ranging partnership including the Scottish Ambulance Service, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland, the Scottish Government, Defence Medical Services (Scotland), St John Scotland and other third sector organisations, and the Resuscitation Research Group at the University of Edinburgh.

This new plan builds on the original Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Strategy 2015 to 2020, which led to more than 640,000 people in Scotland being equipped with CPR skills, and doubled the survival rate from OHCA.

St John Scotland, as a partner in the Save a Life for Scotland campaign, played a key role in the success of the original strategy, and welcomes the launch of the new plan.

Chief Executive Officer Angus Loudon said: "St John Scotland is proud to have played our part in the delivery of the original OHCA Strategy for Scotland. The work of our volunteers in teaching CPR in their communities, and working to increase access to Public Access Defibrillators, has been an important part in achieving such impressive results, which ultimately meant more people returned home from hospital after surviving a cardiac arrest."

"The original strategy demonstrated the great things that can be achieved by working together with a wide range of partners, so we're looking forward to building on this work to increase survival from cardiac arrest even further. The inclusion of Public Access Defibrillators in this new strategy emphasises their key role in the chain of survival. We're planning to grow the delivery of our CPR training and defibrillator deployment over the coming years, as a fundamental part of our own refreshed strategy to enhance community resilience across Scotland."

The new OHCA strategy sets ambitious targets including increasing bystander CPR rates to 85%, ensuring all school-aged children in Scotland have the opportunity to be equipped with CPR skills, and focusing on key inequalities, public access defibrillator placement, and care of all of those involved with an OHCA.

You can read the full strategy on the Scottish Government website.