Taking resuscitation to heart

North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is investing £1m in patient care over the next 5 years with the purchase of new defibrillators for its 142 emergency ambulances.

Last year the service’s emergency care crews responded to nearly 300,000 incidents that resulted in a patient being taken to hospital and they treated and discharged 85,000 patients at home.  Around 3,000 of those needed CPR.

Patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest or a heart attack will benefit most from the investment.

The new defibrillators will give staff instantaneous feedback on the quality of their Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.

Consultant paramedic at NEAS, Paul Aitken-Fell, said, “Other parts of the world have better rates of survival for patients with a system wide approach to cardiac arrest.  Advancements in defibrillator technology mean that this investment will improve the outcomes for patients and enable us to also monitor our CPR effectiveness at the scene of an incident.”

The Trust is also investing in new electronic patient care record technology, which will connect to the defibrillator and generate a complete care record of emergency care given to the receiving hospital.

Aitken-Fell continues, “On average our paramedics only attend 3 to 4 cardiac arrests a year and because they get such a limited exposure to such incidents, giving them more support when delivering CPR at a scene can really make a difference to patients.  Our crews can be faced with any number of complex conditions and it’s crucial that we equip them with the best tools for the job.”  

North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS) covers 3,200 square miles across the North East region.  It employs more than 2,500 staff and serves a population of 2.7 million people by handling all NHS 111 and 999 calls for the region, operating patient transport and ambulance response services, delivering training for communities and commercial audiences and providing medical support cover at events.

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