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31% of Thames Valley residents would not be confident giving CPR 

Almost a third of people in our community would not feel confident giving CPR if they witnessed a cardiac arrest, despite 57 per cent receiving some form of CPR training in the past.  

The figures on defibrillation are not much better. Only 39 per cent would feel confident using an automated external defibrillator (AED), indeed one in ten (9%) did not know what a defibrillator was.  

In new figures released to mark Air Ambulance Week, we are raising awareness of the difference that early CPR and defibrillation can make. 

The worst thing you can do in that moment is nothing

Mark Hodkinson, Consultant Paramedic

Fewer than one in ten people survive a cardiac arrest outside of hospital, but the chance of surviving doubles with early CPR and defibrillation. With almost half of those surveyed (46%) saying fear of doing harm would be the reason they did not step in, the charity is urging people to put these worries aside.  

Mark Hodkinson, our Consultant Paramedic, said: “When somebody has a cardiac arrest out of hospital, early CPR and defibrillation could make all the difference. Many people are afraid of doing the wrong thing, with a ‘confidence gap’ potentially preventing people from taking action, but the worst thing you can do in that moment is nothing.   

“Our crews have attended over 2,000 cardiac arrests since we became an independent healthcare provider in October 2018. Our doctors and paramedics bring the best expertise and kit to the scene, but if a bystander has already begun CPR before we arrive then it gives us the greatest possible chance of saving that patient.”  

You can make a difference

Currently, nearly a third (32%) of cardiac arrests attended by our crews have not received bystander CPR and a public access defibrillator is used in fewer than one in ten (8%) cardiac arrest call outs. 

With 60 per cent of the out-of-hospital cardiac arrests we attend happening in the home and over a quarter (28%) in a public place, we are urging people to get clued up on what to do if they witness a cardiac arrest. 

We are working to fill this confidence gap in the community, through the development of CPR volunteering opportunities.