Survival Rate in London for Cardiac Arrests That Happen Away from Hospitals Reaches All-Time High

The proportion of people surviving a cardiac arrest that happens outside of a hospital setting has reached its highest level of 10.8 per cent — twice the rate it was a decade ago.

Figures published by London Ambulance Service also show that when a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) was used by a bystander and at least one shock was delivered to patients, the survival rate was more than five times higher (57.1 per cent).

Ambulance bosses today renewed calls for people to get life-saving training in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a defibrillator. However they also emphasised that even those who have not been trained should still use a PAD if there is one available. The device gives users clear instructions and can only increase a person’s chances of survival.

And with around 70 per cent of cardiac arrests taking place in the home and half being witnessed by a bystander, quick intervention could mean the difference between life and death for a family member or friend.

Dr Fenella Wrigley, Chief Medical Officer at London Ambulance Service, said:

“I want to recognise the work of everyone who has helped us achieve this highest ever survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests — from the bystanders who call us for help, attempt CPR and where possible use a defibrillator, through to our call handlers, our teams who prepare the ambulances and equipment and frontline clinicians who arrive at the scene to deliver care.

“The key to a patient surviving a cardiac arrest is for them to receive basic life support as quickly as possible, including chest compressions and the use of a defibrillator.

“There are increasing numbers of Public Access Defibrillators across London. People can use them even if they have not had training by following the instructions on how to attach the defibrillator pads and the device will then talk you through each step.

“I also really want to emphasise that members of the public can never do a patient any harm by using a defibrillator — it simply assesses the patient’s heart rhythm and will only deliver a shock if it is needed. When you use a defibrillator you are only ever improving that person’s chances of survival.”

Family Thank Lifesavers After Dad’s Heart Stops

A father of three and his family have been reunited with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) team and hotel staff who saved his life when his heart stopped beating.

Carl Botham, 53, collapsed and stopped breathing at the Swindon Marriott Hotel.

Staff realised he needed urgent treatment, so they called 999 and began resuscitation.

Paramedics used a defibrillator to restart Carl’s heart, and transported him to hospital in a critical condition.

Carl regained consciousness four days later, and has gone on to make a fantastic recovery.

Carl, his wife Lorna, and their three children made a special trip from their Stafford home to the hotel on Thursday 30 January to thank the staff and paramedics in person.

(left to right): SWASFT Paramedics Hannah Bennett and Helen Harris, Lorna Botham, Swindon Marriott Head Chef Andrew James, Alfie and Carl Botham, SWASFT Paramedic Helen Eggleton, Former Leisure Club Manager Chris Wood, George and Nichola Botham.

Carl, who has no memory of the incident, said: “I’m thankful to still be alive, and to everyone who was involved in saving me. They did an amazing job, and I cannot thank them enough.

“Without their actions, I would have missed my daughter’s wedding in August and I wouldn’t be here today.”

Carl was working as an electrical contractor when the incident happened in the hotel’s kitchen on 17 April. He cut his head in the fall and was unconscious.

Chris Wood, who was then Leisure Club Manager and First Aid Tutor, did an initial assessment and began treatment.

Head Chef, Andrew James, called 999 and spoke to Emergency Medical Dispatcher Jonathan Leaton who guided him through the basic life support procedure.

Andrew and Chris did CPR and mouth-to-mouth for several minutes, while Clinical Dispatcher Carl Hodgson organised for crews to attend.

Lead Paramedic Arron Dalby and Paramedic Officer Rich Carter were first on scene within five minutes of the call. They were joined by Paramedic Hannah Bennett and Student Paramedic Helen Harris two minutes later. They were later supported by Senior Paramedic Helen Eggleton and a Wiltshire Air Ambulance crew.

The team continued CPR and gave Carl three shocks with a defibrillator to resuscitate him.

They transported him by ambulance to the Great Western Hospital in Swindon where he was put on a life support machine and remained for more than two weeks.

Lorna said: “I received the worst phone call ever from Carl’s employer. We left Stafford with just what we had on us to be with him.

“We never thought this would happen, especially when Carl was away from home. But we’re so grateful to everyone involved in saving Carl’s life. They were amazing.”

Carl was fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to regulate his abnormal heart rhythm. He continued his recovery at home and has since returned to work.

Lead Paramedic Arron said: “Carl survived a cardiac arrest because of the immediate and effective actions from those on scene. Without their intervention his outcome would have been different.

“They laid a great foundation for SWASFT to continue resuscitation and utilise our advanced treatment, and they deserve much praise.

“This was an ultimate team effort from bystanders, ambulance staff and air ambulance staff. It’s incredible to be involved in making such a huge difference for a patient.

“Carl is living proof that people can and do survive cardiac arrests, if they are given the right treatment at the right time. We’re delighted about this outcome for Carl and his family.”

Mobile mental health unit expands London-wide to help improve care for patients

A pioneering scheme that pairs up mental health professionals with medics in response cars to ensure those with mental health needs get the right treatment is helping ease pressure on the NHS this winter.

For 13 weeks, five cars staffed by mental health nurses from NHS trusts around the capital and paramedics from London Ambulance Service will treat the physical and mental health needs of patients together.

The emphasis will be on linking mental health patients with the most appropriate treatment, including referrals to specialist care, and only taking them to A&E where this is necessary such as when accompanied by a physical condition.

The fleet is an expansion of a mental health car service launched in south-east London in November 2018 and will help alleviate pressure traditionally faced by the NHS in the final winter months.

The original service is estimated to have helped around 2,000 people suffering with mental health issues in the past year, with initial findings suggesting that the scheme could halve the 60,000 annual mental health hospital admissions each year.

The South East London pilot saw the proportion of patients taken to A&E more than halved from around 52 per cent to 18 per cent as more patients were treated effectively in their own homes or received other appropriate care.

Dr Trisha Bain, chief quality officer at London Ambulance Service, who has responsibility for mental health services, said:

“A&E is not always the right place for someone experiencing a mental health crisis, and can even be stressful or traumatising.

“This pioneering service is helping to ensure we provide the right and best possible care for people with mental health issues and is one of a number of ways we are safely reducing the number of people taken to hospital unnecessarily.

“Winter is traditionally a busy time for the National Health Service and this boost to our successful service will help us further refine how we deliver these services in London.”

Martin Machray, Interim Chief Nurse for the NHS in London, said:

“Patients experiencing health crises often need the support and knowledge of a mental health professional as well as a paramedic.

“By treating both their physical and mental health needs, we can provide a better and more rounded care approach – and I am proud that London is leading the way with this wonderful project.”

The roll out is a significant boost to current staffing with 15 new nurses from nine mental health trusts in London and 15 London Ambulance Service paramedics delivering the service until the end of April.

Matthew Trainer, Chief Executive at Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust which is one of the mental health trusts providing nurses for the project, further commented:

“There aren’t many cases where someone with a mental health problem will benefit from being taken to a busy A&E by ambulance. We want to get the right care to people in the right place as quickly as we can. The mental health cars are helping us do that.”

It has been made possible by winter resilience funding of £350,000 from NHS London to secure the additional nurses while London Ambulance Service has provided the vehicles and additional paramedics.

The lessons of this winter’s temporary pan-London roll-out will be used to inform and plan the future of this Service.

New Lifesaving ATV to Aid Gush Shiloh Residents

United Hatzalah of Israel dedicated its newest all-terrain vehicle (ATV) to serve the residents of the Gush Shiloh area, which is the next step in fulfilling their promise to add more lifesaving vehicles and first responders to Judea and Samaria.

The dedication ceremony took place on Monday in the town of Adei Ad, slightly northeast of Shiloh itself. 

The ATV will provide first response emergency service to medical emergencies as well as search and rescue emergencies in the region known as Gush Shiloh. It is capable of transporting a patient through difficult terrain, particularly in mountainous and forested areas. 

The new ATV in Gush Shiloh

Regional Council Head of Binyamin Yisrael Gantz participated in the ceremony together with President and Founder of United Hatzalah Eli Beer.

The two drove the vehicle across the region and spoke about continuing partnerships in providing lifesaving services to the residents of the area. 

The dedication came just two weeks after dozens of new United Hatzalah volunteers graduated from their training course and became first responders, adding more emergency medical coverage to the region.  

During the ceremony, Beer stated: “I am very proud to be here. There is an incredible amount of activity going on here that is being done by incredible people. Here, in Shiloh, the city where the Tabernacle resided, this is where everything began.’

Eli Beer, President & Founder, United Hatzalah

“It is a great pride to United Hatzalah that we have an incredible chapter in the Binyamin region, one which is strengthened by the Head of the Council Yisrael Gantz, who is one of our veteran volunteers in the region.” 

Gantz told Beer: “I pray that the new vehicle and gear which we received this morning from United Hatzalah will be used for good things only, and will help save many lives.’

“I wish to thank United Hatzalah for this significant donation of this new ATV to our region, and for continuing to assist all of the residents who live here.’

“It is to our merit that we have people like you (Eli Beer) who give everything of themselves to protect the lives of others in Israel and around the world.’

“I also want to thank the volunteers themselves who work tirelessly to ensure the safety of others, both in the Binyamin region and across the country. Anyone who gives of themselves to help others is a truly righteous person.”  

The new ATV in Gush Shiloh

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Menachem Bakush who will be entrusted with the day-to-day operation of the vehicle.

Bakush said: “For a long time we have dreamed of having an ATV such as this here in the region. This vehicle is capable of reaching patients in areas where regular cars and ambulances cannot go.’

“It will help us save many lives. In fact, we already used it yesterday in responding to an emergency in the area and it proved incredibly useful.’

“I have no doubt that we will help many people with this. I want to thank everyone involved who is working to help improve the emergency medical services in the Binyamin region.”  

A Young Girl’s Dream

Less than two years ago Maya Reooveny (10) of Gedera, sadly lost her little sister, Inbar, who was herself just 6 and a half years old.

At the beginning of the school year, Maya joined the “Tayeset” (squadron) program to develop and adopt leadership among youth of the The Ramon Foundation. With their help, she was able to strengthen her self-confidence and various other skills.

Maya receives a tour of the ambulances from Haim

When Yifat Azriel, Maya’s counselor, heard about her dream of becoming a life-saver, she embarked on a mission to join Maya with MDA in order to allow her, at a young age, to be exposed to the world of medical care for sick patients and those injured in the State of Israel.

Last week, Maya arrived at the national operation dispatch center of Magen David Adom in Kiryat Ono. She was given a tour of the ambulances, including the intensive care unit and the MDA 101 Emergency Dispatch Center.

She also had the opportunity to meet the EMTs and paramedics who do what she dreams of doing: saving lives. Haim Karadi, Director of the Lachish region, guided Maya through the tour, whilst providing her with a personal first aid lesson.

“I have always loved helping people,” Maya explained. “The day that Inbar collapsed, my mother and I went to the hospital. I happened to pass by the room where they were performing CPR, and the door was opened. I saw her connected to a whole bunch of machines, and then the door closed.’

Maya Reooveny and Haim Karadi, Director of MDA’s Lachish region, at the MDA 101 Dispatch Center

“The medical field has always interested me, but since that day, it has grown to be more and more. It is important for me to know what to do in these situations and not to be helpless.’

“I had an amazing experience with MDA. I learned a lot from Haim, and all about the technology that is being used in the MDA dispatch center.”

Yifat Azriel of The Ramon Foundation said, “Our motto in the ‘Tayeset’ program is: ‘To dream, to dare, to inspire.’ When I realized that Maya’s dream was to care for people, I approached MDA, who promptly responded to my request, and together we were able to provide her with a taste into the world of medicine and life-saving, which is so intriguing to her.’

Maya and Haim at MDA’s 101 Dispatch Center

Haim Karadi, Director of MDA’s Lachish region commented on his appreciation of acting as Maya’s guide for the day, stating: “It is not every day that you get the privilege to meet such a mature and smart girl, genuinely willing to help people and to save lives, already from such a young age.’

“It was an honor to teach Maya, and to show her the world of medical care that interests her so much.”

St John Ambulance Joins the Independent Ambulance Association

The Independent Ambulance Association is pleased to welcome newest addition as St John Ambulance joins the IAA, having passed all vetting and background checks required for membership, including the requirements of the Care Quality Commission.

St John Ambulance is assessed against the same criteria as UK Ambulance Trusts by the Care Quality Commission, including the additional checks required for those organisations providing a 999-emergency service.

Alan Howson, Executive Chairman, IAA

Alan Howson, Executive Chairman of the IAA comments: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome St John Ambulance as Members of the Association. St John Ambulance enjoys an excellent and deserved reputation for providing ambulance and community-based services.’

“Having participated in one of their National Operation Meetings I was struck by the dedication and passion of the staff to their work and their commitment to ensuring high standards of care and service delivery.

Craig Harman, National Ambulance & Community Response Director, St John Ambulance

As the largest independent ambulance provider in England, St John Ambulance brings a wealth of experience of ambulance provision and training standards, and we look forward to them playing a full role in the work of the Association going forward.”  

Craig Harman, National Ambulance & Community Response Director, St John Ambulance adds: “As a national ambulance service, we understand the challenges of delivering ambulance care right across the country.’

Joining the Independent Ambulance Association enables us to share our experience and to work in partnership to drive continuous improvement in the services and care provided by ambulance clinicians. Working together will help us deliver on our strategic intent to drive standards in the independent ambulance sector and within event medicine.”  

British Red Cross to help equip Londoners with first aid skills as part of mayor’s emergencies strategy

A leading crisis response organisation has welcomed moves to ensure first aid training will play a key role in better preparing the people of London for emergencies including extreme weather and terror attacks.

The British Red Cross will work alongside City Hall, NHS England and local authorities to increase access to first aid training for Londoners after lifesaving skills were included as an important part of the Mayor for London’s new London City Resilience Strategy.

Members of the public are often first on the scene in the event of an emergency – commonly before the arrival of emergency services.

The better equipped people are to respond, the greater the chances of lives being saved.

British Red Cross executive director for UK operations Norman McKinley said: “First aid skills save lives.

“Whether an emergency is large or small, ordinary people can make a crucial difference so long as they have the skills and confidence to help.

“We welcome the new London City Resilience Strategy and look forward to working with others to see what parts of London and which groups of people might benefit the most from first aid training and how we can reach them.

“The British Red Cross believes that everyone should know how to save a life and looks forward to helping turn London into a city of lifesavers.” 

British Red Cross research shows that 44% of people in London believe they are likely to be affected by an emergency such as a flood, severe storm or terror attack.

As part of the development of the London City Resilience Strategy, the British Red Cross and Deputy Mayor for London Fiona Twycross, held a workshop for people working in the voluntary and community sector.

At the session, people came together to discuss the key challenges facing London and what community-based organisations could do to help make the city more resilient.

The British Red Cross would now like to see a review of the 2004 Civil Contingencies Act so that the role of the community and voluntary sector during emergencies can be enshrined in law.

That way we can all work together to better identify what a particular community’s needs are during a crisis and tap into the knowledge, skills and resources of individuals and organisations within that community

Norman McKinley said: “The voluntary and community sector has an important role to play in helping local people prepare for emergencies, responding to crises when they happen and supporting communities as they recover.

“Local authorities can miss opportunities to mobilise people where they live so we are encouraged to see City Hall looking to identify opportunities for collaboration that harness that potential.

“It’s crucial that the people affected by an emergency are at the heart of the community’s response to it.”

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Researchers to investigate method of growing new blood vessels

A new treatment for stimulating the growth of new blood vessels in the heart will be investigated by researchers at the University of Bristol thanks to funding of over £100,000 from national charity Heart Research UK.

A heart attack is caused by a blockage of one or more coronary arteries of the heart, which prevents blood and oxygen reaching the heart muscle.

Treatment for heart attacks include reopening the blocked coronary artery with stents or bypass surgery, though there are limitations with these treatments. Reopening coronary arteries is often insufficient to achieve a complete salvage of the heart, and the damage caused by a heart attack can lead to heart failure.

A potential new treatment is to increase the blood flow to damaged heart tissue by using drugs that encourage the body to grow new blood vessels.

The project will be led by Prof Paolo Madeddu, Chair of Experimental Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Bristol, who, along with his team, discovered that an excess of a protein called BACH1 can prevent blood vessel formation.

Prof Madeddu and his team hope to show that the use of BACH1 inhibitors can stimulate the growth of new blood vessels. If successful, this would be the first step in developing them into drug treatments for heart disease. This would result in improved quality of life and reduced risk of developing heart failure.

Also, this treatment may benefit people suffering from other diseases where new vessel growth is needed, such as poor blood circulation in the legs, or damage to other organs, such as the kidney, brain and eyes.

Prof Madeddu said: “The use of BACH1 inhibitors is a very promising area of study that promises to have a huge impact on the way that we treat a wide range of conditions.

“If we are successful, the door will be opened for a whole new method of treating people who have suffered damage to their hearts. The ability to stimulate the growth of new blood vessels will allow us to drastically improve the quality of life of patients who may be at risk of heart failure.

“We’re very grateful to Heart Research UK for allowing us to undertake this research.”

Kate Bratt-Farrar, Chief Executive of Heart Research UK, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the research of Prof Madeddu and his team, which has the potential to significantly reduce the risk of people developing heart failure after a heart attack.

“Our Translational Research Project Grants are all about bridging the gap between laboratory-based scientific research and patient care – they aim to bring the latest developments to patients as soon as possible.

 “The dedication we see from UK researchers is both encouraging and impressive and Heart Research UK is so proud to be part of it.”

The £107,726 Translational Research Project grant was awarded to the University of Bristol as part of Heart Research UK’s annual awards for research into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease.

Last year, Heart Research UK awarded more than £1.6 million in grants for medical research projects across the UK. To date, the charity has invested more than £25 million in medical research via its grants programme.


THE FUTURE media and communication response to emergencies and disasters within the UK will be shaped by a new not for profit organisation launched today (Tuesday, 4th February).  

EPiCC (Emergency Practitioners in Crisis Communication) will support the development and delivery of effective crisis communication by providing a network for all who practice and operate in this arena to share good practice, train, learn and exercise within a safe environment.  

Director of EPiCC, Chris Webb, the former Head of News and Deputy Director of Public Affairs with the Metropolitan Police said: “EPiCC is built around three core principles. The need to Prepare, Plan and Practice.  Having led the media and comms response to emergencies and major incidents for almost 30 years, I understand the benefits that an organisation like this will bring.

“In 2017 and 2018 I was invited to deliver key note speeches to EMPA (Emergency Media and Public Affairs) a not for profit organisation in Australia and New Zealand who work with comms professionals from the public and private sectors to enhance and improve their response to disasters. EMPA has made a real difference to how those two countries now handle such incidents.

“Over the last 12 months I have been working with partners involved in the emergency response at a national level here in the UK to set up a similar model and I’m delighted that the vision has now become a reality. There will continue to be a close working relationship between EPICC and EMPA.”

EPiCC is supported by a Board of Advocates with wide-ranging and extensive experience of emergency management and crisis communication across a broad range of incidents and sectors. As well as enhancing what they deliver, through their knowledge, skills and international networks, they help to ensure EPiCC stays up to date, relevant and responsive to the rapidly changing nature of emergency management and crisis communication in today’s society.

Advocate Alec Wood, the former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police said: “Effective crisis communication must be at the heart of an effective emergency management response for any organisation that provides services to the public. Ultimately the quality and timeliness of information during an emergency can save lives and keep people safe.”

“Developing and enhancing the skills of your people is key. If you fail to plan, you will plan to fail. One can only fully prepare when decisions are based on a sound understanding and comprehensive knowledge of what to expect during an emergency or crisis. The training and coaching from EPiCC gives greater confidence, should the worst happen.”

You can find out more about EPiCC by visiting or follow us on Twitter @UKEPiCC