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Welsh Government launches new plan to prevent heart attack deaths

The Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has outlined a new plan to improve the chances of people surviving a heart attack if it happens outside a hospital.

The Welsh Government wants more CPR training in schools. Credit: PA

The Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) Plan sets out key actions that should be taken to improve a person's chance of survival, including prompt recognition and call for help, Early CPR and high quality post resuscitation care.

The plan also highlights the need for promoting life saving skills in schools and other rescue services like the fire service.

A patient’s chance of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest decreases by an estimated 10% with every passing minute.

Between April 2016 and March 2017, the Welsh Ambulance Service responded to 5,800 OHCA of which 2,832 resulted in a resuscitation attempt.

The Health Secretary thanked the collaborative work of several agencies on the plan.

Survival rates are currently low but there is the potential for many more lives to be saved if cardiopulmonary resuscitation and early defibrillation were undertaken more often. This is why this plan is so important.

We never know when we might come across situations where action needs to be taken to help save a family member, friend, colleague, neighbour or stranger. Providing skills and knowledge would enable people to start the chain of survival as early as possible and give individuals who suffer an OHCA the best chance of survival.

– Vaughan Gething, Health Secretary

The plan has been backed by the British Heart Foundation.

The overall UK survival rate for those suffering a cardiac arrest, where the heart stops pumping blood around the body, out of hospital is currently less than 1 in 10.

If it isn't treated immediately it can lead to death within minutes.

We are committed to improving clinical outcomes for patients across the country and are delighted that the plan will allow us build on this by carrying out further research and innovation and collecting standardised data to measure the quality of care being provided.

– Dr Brendan Lloyd, Executive Director of Medical and Clinical Services, Welsh Ambulance Service

In 2010 just over 10,000 people died from cardiovascular disease, by 2015 this had fallen to just over 9,000 deaths.

The rate of hospital admissions for coronary heart disease has fallen over the last five years, by 21%.