Resuscitation Council (UK)

Press release

Training people, saving lives

Guidelines 2015 Logo

16 October 2015 marks the third ‘Restart a Heart’ day and this year the theme is ‘your hands can save more lives with the new guidelines’. The Resuscitation Council (UK) wants to encourage everyone to learn CPR skills, be confident in using them and understand the importance of doing ‘something’ rather than ‘nothing’ in an emergency.

Each year in the UK, there are around 60,000 cases of suspected cardiac arrest. The emergency services attempt resuscitation in about 28,000 victims, and of these, less than 10% will survive. The Resuscitation Council (UK) wants the public’s help to change this, starting today on Restart a Heart day! If more bystanders call 999, deliver effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and when appropriate use an AED, the number of cases where the emergency services could attempt resuscitation would increase.

Every five years, the Resuscitation Council (UK) updates its resuscitation guidelines, based on the latest available science, and the new 2015 guidelines were published on October 15; all healthcare professionals and training organisations across the UK adopt and follow these guidelines. The new guidelines focus on the need for bystander CPR to try and increase the number of people who survive after having a sudden cardiac arrest in the community. 

When someone suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, quick recognition and response from a bystander is critical. These actions are referred to as the ‘Chain of Survival’: calling 999 for the emergency services, starting CPR immediately and using a defibrillator (often called an AED). If all these steps are followed, the chance of survival is dramatically increased, but for every minute that nothing is done, the chance rapidly decreases. Up to 80% of sudden cardiac arrests happen at home, so starting CPR after calling 999 and knowing where your nearest defibrillator is situated is vital in making a difference to the outcome.

Members of the public might not be aware of the guidelines and perhaps feel that their actions will not have an effect on the outcome for somebody who suffers a cardiac arrest. This is not the case; we want people to know that they can make a difference. If someone has a cardiac arrest, their heart has stopped and they certainly will not survive if no help is offered; you cannot make things any worse! By calling 999 and starting CPR you can only improve their situation.’ explains Dr Carl Gwinnutt, President of the Resuscitation Council (UK). 

There are many ways to learn how to do CPR; courses are held by the voluntary aid societies and first aid organisations, or another quick and easy way to learn is from Lifesaver; a live-action film you play like a game, only it shows you how to save someone's life. You learn by doing: do it wrong, and see the consequences; do it right, and sense the thrill of saving a life. It’s suitable for children and adults and has already contributed to saving lives. 

Everyone can use an AED, even without specific training; they have been developed for use by the public and are also called ‘Public Access Defibrillators’ (PAD). When you call 999, you will be told where the nearest one to you is, all you need to do is switch it on and this will activate verbal/visual prompts telling you what to do. It will only deliver a shock if the heart needs it. 

Today, all over the UK and Europe a variety of events will be encouraging people of all ages to learn CPR skills. The aim of these events is to raise public awareness, encourage communities to organise CPR training and install AEDs, and give people the confidence to put these skills into action and save a life! 


Notes to Editor:

•The full 2015 UK Resuscitation Guidelines can be found on our website from 11am on 15 October 2015 -

•A cardiac arrest in not a heart attack. A cardiac arrest describes when the heart stops. One of the commonest causes of a cardiac arrest however is a heart attack. The victim will be unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing normally.  In the first few moments after the heart stops, the victim may be gasping. Without CPR and attempts to restart the heart, the victim will die.

•The Chain of Survival describes four key, inter-related steps, which if delivered effectively and in sequence, optimise survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

•LIFESAVER - You learn by doing: do it wrong, and see the consequences; do it right, and sense the thrill of saving a life. https// 

•To achieve its objective, the Resuscitation Council (UK) has the following aims:

To encourage research into methods of resuscitation

To study resuscitation teaching techniques

To establish appropriate guidelines for resuscitation procedures

To promote the teaching of resuscitation as established in the guidelines

To establish and maintain standards for resuscitation

To foster good working relations between all organisations involved in resuscitation and to produce and Publish training aids and other literature concerned with the organisation of resuscitation and its teaching 

•For more information on this release, please contact the Resuscitation Council (UK) press office on 0207 391 0703 or out of hours on 07506 374945.

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