November 19, 2012

Vinnie’s back to push up depressing cardiac arrest survival 

Vinnie heroesDire cardiac arrest survival rates in England, where only one in five people survive, show no immediate signs of improving, according to new figures we've compiled.

In April last year, the Department of Health began collecting a new set of performance indicators for ambulance trusts in England, which included cardiac arrest survival rates.

Since the new indicators were introduced, figures show there has been no sustained improvement in survival rates from witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, where CPR and a defibrillator could have helped.

If survival rates are to improve, we believe more bystanders need to help by doing CPR, so we're bringing back our popular Hands-only CPR TV advert, starring Hollywood hardman Vinnie Jones.

Survival statistics

We know Hands-only CPR works but more bystanders need to step in

The latest ambulance trust figures, published this month, show in June 18.5 per cent of witnessed cardiac arrest casualties attended by paramedics survived to leave hospital – just 58 out of 314 casualties.

In May 2011, survival rates peaked at 28 per cent but have since deteriorated and not risen above 20 per cent this year. In Seattle, where over half of the population are now trained in CPR, survival rates stand at 52 per cent.

The data for England also show where you live in the country could determine your chances of surviving a witnessed cardiac arrest. In June, a rate of just 7.5 per cent was recorded in the East Midlands compared to 33 per cent in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

Hands-only CPR works

Vinnie Jones hand and fastOur original advert and training film told millions that have-a-go-heroes should give the kiss of life a miss in favour of hard and fast chest compressions to the beat of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. Amazingly 28 people have contacted us to say Hands-only CPR has helped to save a life, including that of 39-year-old Alan Linton who is set to star in the new advert.

But our Medical Director Professor Peter Weissberg wants more survivors: “Many people can survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest but only 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 advert.”

More information