Spotlight

Trust invests almost £50k on community-based defibrillators

People who suffer a cardiac arrest in our community will soon have improved access to an emergency defibrillator.

We have recently purchased public use defibrillators that are currently being installed outside our 13 community hospitals, as well as at Foundation House in Taunton – these public use defibrillators will be accessible 24 hours a day.

The total cost of all the public use defibrillators is just under £50,000.

Mike Paynter, our consultant nurse for community urgent care and minor injuries services, said: “Over the last year we have working to understand the needs of our local communities, particularly around urgent and emergency care.

“We chose to purchase public use defibrillators to install outside our community hospitals across Somerset to give local communities access to an automatic defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest in a public area.”

Every year in the UK there are approximately 60,000 cases of cardiac arrest, which tend to occur in the community rather than in hospital. In the majority of cases the cause of the cardiac arrest is due to a sudden and severe abnormality of the hearts rhythm.

Prompt first aid in the form of basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is essential, although despite this the outcome for people suffering a cardiac arrest is poor, the chance of survival falls by about 10 per cent for every minute defibrillation is delayed.

Mike said: “The most effective treatment of cardiac arrest is early defibrillation – this is a controlled and safe shock that can correct the heart’s abnormal rhythm and save lives. The chain of survival is simple and effective: call 999, start CPR, use the public access defibrillator and continue CPR until the ambulance service arrives.

"The automated defibrillators are easy to use and provide the user with clear instructions. Public access defibrillators are now a common sight at railway stations, village halls, supermarkets and even old telephone boxes – over the past 20 years they have saved lives. I’d urge people of all ages to enrol on an emergency first aid course and learn how to confidently deliver basic life support and hopefully save a life.”