Ellen Lynch, Connie Smith, Guy McGivern, Karen MacNee

Ellen Lynch, Connie Smith, Guy McGivern, Karen MacNee (Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest)

Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA) is a major health challenge in Scotland with around 3,500 patients having an OHCA each year. Tragically, only one in 20 of those suffering OHCA survive to hospital discharge, compared to around one in four in the best performing areas around the world. In response, in 2015, a National OHCA Strategy was launched, bringing together an unprecedented collaboration of all Scotland’s emergency services, Scottish Government, third sector, NHS and academia, to achieve together what would be impossible to accomplish separately.

The aim was for Scotland to become an international leader in OHCA resuscitation, double survival rates, save an additional 1,000 lives and train 500,000 people in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by 2020.

Scotland’s OHCA strategy is based on international evidence of successful approaches to reducing OHCA mortality and was developed with input from patient groups. Common themes across high performing systems include developing a cardiac arrest registry, mapping and dispatching community first responders and defibrillators, concerted efforts to increase bystander CPR rates (which can increase a patient’s chances of survival by two to three times), and multiple emergency service co-responders. Interventions were developed and tested on the basis of using evidence to inform improvement in real time.