Meeting date: Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Meeting of the Parliament 24 April 2018
Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Negotiations on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, National Plan for Gaelic, Point of Order, Decision Time, Show Some Heart (Jayden Orr Campaign)
- Time for Reflection
- Business Motion
- Topical Question Time
- Negotiations on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill
- National Plan for Gaelic
- Point of Order
- Decision Time
- Show Some Heart (Jayden Orr Campaign)
Show Some Heart (Jayden Orr Campaign)
The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S5M-10084, in the name of Stuart McMillan, on show some heart, the Jayden Orr campaign. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.
That the Parliament commends Show Some Heart, the Jayden Orr campaign, which has been launched by the family of Jayden Orr, from Port Glasgow, who sadly passed away at the age of 10 while practising his favourite sport and pastime of ice skating; notes that the campaign has various targets, including raising public awareness of the importance of defibrillator machines and campaigning to raise funds to ensure that a defibrillator is located in every school in Inverclyde; further notes the importance of registering a defibrillator machine with the Scottish Ambulance Service, which maintains the register, as this allows it to guide people to a machine until an ambulance arrives; welcomes the backing of this campaign from the Greenock Telegraph, which has been hugely supportive of the family; commends the strength of the Orr family and this campaign to improve society, and wishes them every success.17:03
I thank everyone who supported the motion to enable the debate to take place. I also want to make members aware that members of Jayden Orr’s family have travelled through to Parliament to be in the public gallery.
There can be nothing worse for a parent than losing a child. It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, for many families, it becomes a reality and, no matter what happens after the passing, it will never bring the child back.
Show some heart is a campaign that was established by the Orr family in memory of their precious son, 10-year-old Jayden Orr from Port Glasgow. The Orr family saw their son once again take to the ice to practise his beloved ice skating, not knowing that it would be the last time. Jayden loved ice skating. Some youngsters love football, rugby or one of the many other sports that are available. For Jayden, ice skating was his passion and he was good at it. He won many competitions and awards, and he was a hard-working and determined young man who always wanted to improve on the ice. He wanted to be the best.
On 4 August 2017, Jayden collapsed on the ice and died shortly afterwards. As a result of that tragedy, Jayden’s parents, bravely, wanted to highlight the importance of defibrillator machines being available in public places. The show some heart campaign was launched in January this year with a target of reaching £50,000 to fund a defibrillator machine in every school in Inverclyde. I am fully behind the campaign, as are the Inverclyde public. The local newspaper, the Greenock Telegraph, has been instrumental in collating aspects of the campaign. I put on record my gratitude to the Greenock Telegraph for that and for the sensitive way in which it has reported any stories about Jayden, his family and the campaign.
Various fundraising activities have already taken place, with the opening of a shop in Greenock and the recent charity ball in Greenock town hall being two examples. Since January this year, which is only a short space of time, £17,000 has been raised. Local businesses and the local population have been supportive, and I thank everyone who has helped so far.
When I became involved in the campaign, I undertook some research to understand fully the situation regarding defibrillators in Inverclyde. It is clear that there are a few areas that could be strengthened to help the situation not only in Inverclyde but in every constituency in Scotland. At present, there is no obligation for the purchaser of a defibrillator machine to register it with the Scottish Ambulance Service. I accept that it might be difficult for every variant of a defibrillator to be registered and that there would be a cost to doing so, because of the investment in bureaucracy that would be required. However, defibrillators can be purchased from ordinary websites—they are not limited to specialist providers. The Scottish Ambulance Service already holds a register of defibrillator locations in the country, but it is not complete. The fact that there is no requirement for defibrillators to be registered is a gap in the system to assist people.
In December, I spent a day with the Scottish Ambulance Service. On one of the calls, a defibrillator machine had been used beforehand to try to assist. The machine had been registered with the Ambulance Service, so when a member of the public made the call about the ill person, they were directed to the nearest defib machine, which was in the local village hall, about 200 metres away. That was then used until the ambulance arrived. Whether defibrillator machines are in schools, community halls, shops or any other public location, having them registered on the Scottish Ambulance Service register would be hugely advantageous to society.
A second issue of note concerns the pads for use with defib machines. As the Minister for Public Health and Sport will know, there are different pads for adults and for children, although adult pads can be used on children because a reduced current can be deployed from the defib machine. In the first instance, I believe that it would be beneficial for there to be greater public awareness of the importance of accessing defib machines, but I believe that it would also be beneficial for each machine to have pads for both adults and children. It is important to consider that, on occasion, the person who uses a defib until an ambulance arrives will be a member of the public. Every second counts when it comes to heart failure, so keeping the message simple for non-professional users would be helpful. I was informed by the Scottish Ambulance Service that adult pads are fine to be used on children, but I appreciate that confusion might arise in a pressure situation when a member of the public is trying to help.
The third important issue with defib machines is the connections available on them. They are not standard, which means that different machines can have different connections for the pads. If there was a standard—using, for example, a USB port or a headphones connection—it would be easier for defib owners to replace pads and possibly obtain them at more reasonable prices.
Fourthly, it would be remiss of me not to ask the minister whether the Scottish Government can help the show some heart campaign financially. The target is to reach £50,000, of which £17,000 has been raised so far.
The show some heart campaign has highlighted an important issue that could affect any one of us or any of our constituents in every community in the country. The campaign has highlighted positives in the current system and in awareness of defib machines, but it has also highlighted that there are, unfortunately, shortcomings in the system.
I believe that the show some heart campaign can achieve access to a defib in every Inverclyde school, and can also help to make the current system more robust and better for the country and, ultimately, our constituents. The campaign wants to introduce a defib into every local school and it is understandable why that is the aim. Schools tend to be in the heart of local communities and large numbers of people gather in them for large parts of the day, so it makes sense for that to be the aim.
In recent years, stories have appeared that have shocked the sports world. When we hear of young sportspeople collapsing and dying from heart-related conditions, it is always sobering. It also highlights that every second counts to try to save their life. Sometimes, the first responder is not a trained person but a bystander, so knowing where the machines are is vital. When we reach the target, which we will, the public will know that there is a defibrillator in the local school, which might just save a life.
The member has made an excellent speech. Will he join me in congratulating the British Heart Foundation on its work to fund more than 1,500 defibs in Scotland, which is a fantastic achievement?
I cannot disagree with David Stewart’s contribution. The work of the British Heart Foundation in Scotland has, for many years, been outstanding.
The strength of the Orr family while coming to terms with the tragic loss of their son is immeasurable. Their desire to help ensure that others do not go through what they have highlights their character as a family, as well as their willingness to help others. The family have stated that they want Jayden to live on through helping others. Continuing the campaign to reach the £50,000 target and to have a defibrillator installed in every school in Inverclyde will be a fitting tribute to Jayden.17:11
I congratulate Stuart McMillan on securing today’s members’ business debate. I put on record my condolences to Jayden Orr’s family on their loss, and my praise and admiration for how they are using their experience of tragedy to take forward the show some heart campaign to benefit others in their community. The fact that we are debating the campaign this evening goes to show that it has already achieved so much. I commend their efforts and, like Stuart McMillan, I wish their campaign every success. I am delighted that the Greenock Telegraph is backing their cause.
The show some heart campaign’s work in Inverclyde mirrors similar positive efforts in other parts of our country. In my region of Lothian, I have been pleased to highlight the excellent work of the Jamie Skinner Foundation, which was established following the tragic death from sudden cardiac arrest of the 13-year-old Tynecastle Football Club player, Jamie Skinner, in 2013. His death shocked the Edinburgh sport and wider communities. The foundation has achieved a great deal in raising awareness of the risk of cardiac arrest for young sportspeople, and has already raised a very significant amount of money, with more than £40,000 being spent on community defibrillators that have the potential to save people’s lives in Lothian.
Last year, I was pleased to join St John Scotland, which is based in Edinburgh, in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defib use training day for members of the public. St John Scotland supports the provision of community defibs around Scotland and I commend it for its work. The St John and the city public access defib project has delivered numerous defibs in our capital city, including on the city’s trams and at key tourist attractions.
Stuart McMillan’s motion rightly references the importance of registering community defibs with the Scottish Ambulance Service. My motion in March on the SAS’s very welcome new registration to resuscitation campaign and its new website, pad.scottishambulance.com, attracted broad cross-party support. Today, I again urge any community groups that have not yet registered their local defibs on the SAS website to do so, so that SAS knows where the nearest defibs are located and can give that information out to the public before an ambulance is dispatched.
I recently met Mr Phil Mills-Bishop, the chair of Stonehaven and District community council, who, like many people, has been campaigning for a number of years for more defibrillators to be located in communities in the north-east. Mr Mills-Bishop set out a range of concerns in relation to the provision of community defibs, citing the fact that some councils still appear unwilling for them to be located in public buildings, including schools.
He also highlighted the fact that his community council has to bear all the associated costs, responsibilities and risks in relation to the defibs, including the recurring cost of additional pads and fixing defibs after vandalism. When I met him, he raised a number of issues around planning regulations and whether changes could be made to remove the need for planning permission for defibs located outside, if their installation could be covered by permitted development.
I have raised these issues in writing with the health secretary, but from what has already been said in this debate, I hope that the minister will mention it in her closing remarks. I also hope that we will be able to take this forward at the cross-party level. I welcome the fact that more defibs are being made available across our communities, but in future we clearly need to make sure that they are serviced and that councils make all this easy to do. We need to see best practice spread right across Scotland and any barriers to that removed.
To conclude, I welcome today’s debate and pay tribute to the work of the show some heart campaign. Delivering a defibrillatory electrical shock can change outcomes and bring survival rates up to as much as 75 per cent. We will all, therefore, be united in supporting the show some heart campaign and others like it throughout the communities that we represent. Their success means ever greater potential to save the lives of people of all ages and we should all welcome that.17:16
I add my congratulations to Stuart McMillan on securing tonight’s debate. I also offer a very warm welcome to Jayden Orr’s family.
This is a heartbreaking story of a 10-year-old boy from Port Glasgow who left the house one evening seemingly happy, fit, and healthy but who never returned home. While ice skating, Jayden collapsed from what is believed might have been a cardiac arrest. We can only imagine what the Orr family went through the night Jayden died, and what they continue to live with.
Jayden was a talented young ice skater. In just four years on the ice, he won countless competitions and was training for the British championships. His family are rightly proud of his achievements and are determined to honour his memory by campaigning to save as many lives as they can in the aftermath of their own personal tragedy.
As we have heard, the family’s show some heart campaign aims to raise money to put defibrillators and other life-saving equipment into every school in Inverclyde, which is the area that I come from. Funds will also go towards training people to use the machines properly. Jayden’s parents, Kathleen and John, are researching the most suitable child-friendly defibrillators, and they have secured the support of Northern Resus Training, which will come to Inverclyde and teach local people how to use the machines.
The leisure centre where Jayden collapsed had a defibrillator, but it only had adult pads, and the person who was trained to use it was not there. It is not known whether access to a child-friendly defibrillator would have made a difference for Jayden but, as Kathleen Orr said after her son’s death, none of us knows when something is going to happen, or when the availability of a machine could save a life.
As well as raising money to buy equipment, the family want to educate the public about what to do in the event of what is termed an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Doctors tell us that bystander CPR, coupled with the use of a defibrillator, offers the best chance of survival after an OHCA. Every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.
In 2015, the Scottish Government published a national strategy to increase survival rates by ensuring that the public are equipped with CPR skills and enabled to use a public access defibrillator until emergency services arrive at the scene. It is also worth noting that many tools are available on the internet that the public can use to learn how to operate a defibrillator or practise effective CPR. We have heard the British Heart Foundation praised tonight, and it has created how-to videos that last just a few minutes. Save A Life for Scotland’s website is another great resource.
I understand that there is strong local support in Inverclyde for the Orr family’s brave campaign. I was pleased to hear Stuart McMillan talk about the role of the Greenock Telegraph, the newspaper where I started my journalism career longer ago than I care to remember, in 1987. It has backed the family from the beginning and should be commended in particular for its sensitive reporting of the issue. There has been an outpouring of support from the people of Inverclyde, who have donated generously to the JustGiving campaign that was set up by Jayden’s sister, Kerri Lynn, to the tune of thousands of pounds. I hope that when Jayden’s family leave Holyrood tonight, they will do so in no doubt about how much MSPs from across the chamber, from all parties, admire their strength and back their efforts with the campaign.17:20
I associate myself with the remarks made by Miles Briggs and Joan McAlpine and I congratulate Stuart McMillan on securing a debate on this very important campaign.
The family of Jayden Orr have shown remarkable strength since he was taken from them. What they have achieved in Jayden’s memory is extraordinary. They have mobilised a community, enlisted the support of their local newspaper—the Greenock Telegraph—and won backing from local government, and they are still fundraising and raising awareness about the importance of defibrillators in public places.
The show some heart campaign has been inspirational in highlighting such an important issue. Today, that campaign comes to the Scottish Parliament, and I hope that members on all sides will see the importance of installing lifesaving devices in different community settings across the country.
Jayden’s death at the age of 10 is a poignant reminder that tragedy can strike at any age. That is why among the campaign’s aims is that of fulfilling the intention that defibrillators should be located in every school in Inverclyde, as well as in leisure centres and other public places. Just as the campaigners want to see more community defibrillators readily available in Inverclyde, they also want to educate people about how to use the devices properly and with confidence.
We must support the Orr family, who are here today, to achieve that aim, because, as has been said, it is not just ambulance crews and trained first responders who should have access to a defibrillator and who should know how to use the device in an emergency; ordinary members of the public should also be able to do that, because when somebody has a sudden cardiac arrest, quick-thinking bystanders can become lifesavers.
As we have heard, campaigners also want to make sure that, where defibrillators are installed, they are registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service. Ambulance control centres will use the information in the public access defibrillator—PAD—registration system to signpost 999 callers to the nearest device when someone reports a cardiac arrest.
According to the Scottish Ambulance Service, the most important factors to determine survival of cardiac arrest are early, high-quality CPR and counter-shock therapy, which is more commonly known as defibrillation. To survive a cardiac arrest, patients have to receive CPR; in the majority of cases, they will also require defibrillation. To be successful, both CPR and defibrillation have to be applied within a matter of minutes. Time is always of the essence. That is why defibrillators have to be readily available and, as Stuart McMillan said, why their locations have to be recorded on a reliable, up-to-date register. It can make all the difference in an emergency when seconds count—it can save a life.
As Stuart McMillan said, the other main strand to the family’s campaign relates to fundraising. PADs cost money. They can cost between £1,500 and £3,000, but, as Jayden’s mother, Kathleen, said when speaking in support of the campaign,
“what’s that in comparison to saving a life?”
Although the Scottish Government has made a financial contribution in the past, defibrillators are still largely funded through community, charitable or business donations. The family have been crowdfunding, holding table-top sales, auctions and a charity ball, and they have set up Jayden’s Rainbow charity shop—a shop that was flooded with donations from ordinary members of the public.
The family have reached out to the business community and to local councillors and, as I said earlier, they been working with the Greenock Telegraph to ensure that the campaign is well publicised locally. The response to the appeal from the community in Port Glasgow and across the Inverclyde area has been impressive. Today’s debate is an opportunity to recognise not just the importance of the campaign and all that it seeks to achieve but the kindness and generosity that have been shown by the people of Inverclyde. They have given their support to the cause, and now I ask the Scottish Government to consider what further support we can give to them.
I ask the Scottish Government to consider how community action and Government action together can expand the availability of this life-saving technology and what more can be done to help ensure that more people survive cardiac arrest.
I once again commend the Orr family for their strength and persistence in taking forward the show some heart campaign. I recognise all that they have achieved to date and all that the community in Inverclyde has done to support them, from the local newspaper to the council and individual members of the public, who have given so generously. Realising the objectives of the campaign will make a difference, so I wish the campaigners every success in the months ahead.17:25
I congratulate my colleague Stuart McMillan on securing the debate and on supporting the show some heart campaign. I associate myself with the words of my colleagues, and I support the family of Jayden Orr in the work that they are doing through their strong campaign.
Dr Richard Cummins from Seattle discovered 28 years ago that if a series of events take place in a set sequence, a patient who is suffering a heart attack stands a greater chance of survival. Those events are now known as the chain of survival. That chain is: early recognition and call for help; early cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR; early defibrillation; and early advanced care. The chain has led to more successful survival rates of persons having cardiac events in hospital and, since the advent of community defibrillators, to better out-of-hospital survival rates. The chances of survival can be greatly improved.
Automatic external defibrillators, which are also known as public access defibrillators or even shock boxes, are designed to enable non-medical personnel to save lives. In early 2000, in my previous nursing role, I was an early adopter of the technology while working in cardiac and trauma surgery, during which we would place the pads on the patient’s chest for the duration of their surgery, just in case arrhythmia occurred. That was innovative preparation, at the time.
It is superb that the technology has the potential to be universally available, so that first responders and ordinary folks can contribute to life-saving events, so I welcome and promote that. Under the Scottish strategy on the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate, which was launched in 2015 and has since been reviewed, patient outcomes and the impact of the current efforts continue to be tracked. That tracking shows that bystander CPR saves lives.
Ahead of the debate, I did some research on where defibrillators are located in the south-west of Scotland. I spoke to a very helpful local councillor called Iain Howie, who is also a defib trainer, about local efforts to acquire and place defibs. Both lain and I support the wording in the motion that asks for defibrillators to be registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service so that, when 999 is called in an emergency, the exact location of the closest defib can be relayed. Stuart McMillan described seeing how that worked on a visit.
The map on the HeartSafe website lists two defibs in the south-west of Scotland, but that is not the most up-to-date or accurate information. When I looked into the issue, I found that about 25 defibs are located in various places across the south-west of my region, including one in a BT phone box that was acquired by the public in St John’s Town of Dalry. I found a spreadsheet that listed 18 local defibs, but only six are registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service.
Only four of the 13 secondary schools in the South Scotland region that responded to my inquiry have a defib. One of them is Dalbeattie high school. Last Friday, I attended the school, where a physics and chemistry teacher, Mr Alistair Bremner, was co-ordinating a basic life support and CPR class, which I attended. About 40 young people were learning how to perform chest compressions and rescue breaths, how to simulate the defibrillator process and even how to deliver simulated shocks. Having defibs in school is part of what we need to support learning. All kids should leave school with basic life-support skills, and Alistair Bremner should be commended for his commitment to his pupils obtaining those life skills.
A defibrillator is a lifesaving machine. For every minute that passes without defibrillation, chances of survival decrease by 10 per cent. Seconds count. Seconds mean that a shock can start a heart. Seconds save lives.
Deputy Presiding Officer, I support the motion. Not only Inverclyde schools, but all schools and public arenas should have defibs. Once again, I thank Stuart McMillan for bringing the debate to the chamber and I commend the strength of the Orr family for their campaign.17:30
I join my colleagues in thanking Stuart McMillan for bringing the debate to the chamber and giving us the opportunity to highlight such a hugely important issue.
It is worth taking a moment to acknowledge the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac arrest, because the two are often confused. When someone suffers a heart attack, the blood supply to part of their heart has stopped because of a blockage in a coronary artery, which causes part of the muscle to begin to die. In cardiac arrest, the whole heart stops pumping, often because of a problem with the electrical signals that control the heart muscle.
A person who is having a heart attack may experience the symptoms over a number of hours, and they can remain conscious and still have a pulse. Cardiac arrest is sudden and dramatic. A person who is in cardiac arrest will be unresponsive and usually stops breathing. Although the conditions are different, they are closely linked—so closely, in fact, that the measures that we take to treat one can often help the other.
In the treatments for heart attack and cardiac arrest, a key factor is early administering of treatment, as Emma Harper has just pointed out. Unless we are extremely lucky, there will always be a gap between the person experiencing a cardiac event and an ambulance arriving. That is why campaigns such as show some heart, which aim to increase the availability of public access defibrillators, are so important.
For patients who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting, receiving good-quality CPR and defibrillation within minutes can mean the difference between survival and death. In fact, for every minute that passes after a cardiac arrest without defibrillation, a patient’s chance of survival decreases by as much as 10 per cent.
The advent of automatic external defibrillators means that, in an emergency, anyone—even if they have no medical knowledge at all—can provide defibrillation to someone who is in cardiac arrest, and can potentially save their life. Across the country, we are seeing more and more public access defibrillators being installed as the public catch on to the fact that the devices can make all the difference in an emergency.
Although we are unlikely to get to a point at which there is a PAD on every street corner, the more that are available, the greater is the chance that there will be one nearby when one is needed. That is why commitments from nationwide businesses, including Asda, to provide defibrillators and CPR-trained staff in stores can make such a difference. Even so, there will always be places where another defibrillator could be useful—especially rural areas, where help can take longer to arrive.
Ensuring that as many people as possible have the opportunity to learn the basics of CPR will make a huge difference to the chances of people who suffer a heart attack or cardiac arrest. Such opportunities, whether they are formal first-aid courses in schools or workplaces, or media campaigns, can give a person the basics.
It is often said that knowledge is power; in this case it can mean life, too. However, knowledge on its own is not enough: with knowledge must come the confidence to use it. That confidence comes from campaigns like show some heart—campaigns that make CPR and PADs less alien and unfamiliar, and which reassure people that trying to help is always better than not doing so.
In closing, I, too, would like to take a moment to pay tribute to the Orr family and the work that they have done to create and drive their show some heart campaign. The loss of a family member is always devastating, but it is so much more so when that family member is so young. As Stuart McMillan said, Jayden was a young man who was seemingly very fit and healthy, and who was pursuing an enthusiasm for sport. To come through that kind of tragedy and then choose to campaign in the hope of sparing others the same loss is a true show of strength and determination. I wish the Orr family’s campaign every success and I hope that it can serve to encourage councils, businesses, clubs, and venues across Scotland to install their own public access defibrillators, and help to prevent such a tragedy happening again.17:34
Like others, I am grateful to Stuart McMillan for bringing this motion to the Parliament this evening. I also welcome Jayden Orr’s family to the chamber. I cannot imagine the pain that they have gone through after losing their precious wee lad all too soon. Like others, I pay tribute to them and the rest of their family for their strength and courage, which have enabled them to campaign in Jayden’s name through show some heart.
As Joan McAlpine said, the level of support for that campaign, in Inverclyde and on the part of MSPs tonight, shows just how much admiration we all have for the Orr family and for all that they have done to raise awareness to ensure that people who need help are responded to in a timely fashion.
As others have outlined, the campaign aims to raise public awareness of the importance of defibrillators, to make more available and to register them with the Scottish Ambulance Service. All of those elements are important with regard to the saving of more lives. Using a defibrillator and starting CPR are the key factors in determining survival when someone has an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. That is the reason why they are the early priorities in the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest strategy for Scotland. It is in that context that I will base some of my responses to the points that have been raised tonight.
We launched the strategy in 2015 with a commitment to improve survival and outcomes from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and to get more people home to their families. That involves improving the whole system of care, dubbed the chain of survival, which, as Emma Harper outlined in her remarks, comprises early recognition that someone has had a cardiac arrest; calling 999 for help; the administration of CPR by the people present; early use of a defibrillator, where one is available; rapid access to high-quality resuscitation care by emergency services and clinicians; post-resuscitation care in hospital; and aftercare. All those elements must be optimised in order to improve outcomes from a cardiac arrest. As Neil Bibby said, we know that rapid bystander action of the sort that I have outlined in the minutes following a cardiac arrest is where the greatest gains in relation to survival will be achieved. Starting CPR keeps the person alive, buying time until medical help arrives.
CPR is a life-saving skill that practically anyone can learn. That is why we launched the save a life for Scotland partnership, which involves blue-light and voluntary sector organisations and which works to encourage people to learn CPR and to raise not only awareness of the importance of intervening in instances of cardiac arrest but the willingness to do so. Since 2015, save a life for Scotland partners have worked with schools and community and sports groups, in workplaces and public spaces and at major events to equip more than 200,000 people with CPR skills. That is a great achievement and we want to acknowledge the work of all the partners and thank all the people who said, “I’ll do it,” and learned how to save a life.
My priority for save a life for Scotland is working with schools to support CPR learning. Under curriculum for excellence, schools have the flexibility to provide emergency or first aid training, and it is up to individual schools and local authorities to decide whether and how best to provide CPR-learning opportunities in the curriculum. CPR training is already embedded in schools across Scotland, with support from save a life for Scotland partners such as the British Heart Foundation, St Andrews First Aid, the British Red Cross, the Royal Lifesaving Society and Lucky2BHere. The save a life for Scotland partnership has also worked with Education Scotland to develop resources for schools, which are available on Education Scotland’s glow website. That is delivering our aim of making CPR learning easy, accessible and free.
Bystander CPR keeps a person alive in those crucial minutes until a defibrillator can be used. Defibrillation works with CPR and is more effective the earlier that it is performed. It is on that basis that we welcome the aim of show some heart, the Jayden Orr campaign’s aim to increase public awareness and availability of defibrillators in Inverclyde. I will certainly instruct my officials to meet Stuart McMillan and the campaign to explore ways in which the show some heart campaign can work alongside our current approaches to ensure that we complement the work that is going on and maximise the reach that both of our campaigns seek to have in order that more people can benefit from the outcomes of those efforts.
Like others, I take this opportunity to show my appreciation of the communities, voluntary organisations and businesses that have raised funds to purchase defibrillators, often making them publicly available across Scotland, and I recognise the role of the British Heart Foundation in making funding available for defibrillators as part of its commitment to saving lives.
Last month, we published a guide to public access defibs, which provides practical advice for people who want to install a defib for their local community.
Our strategy recognises the importance of defibs and aims to make the most effective use of those that are available. Through it, the Scottish Ambulance Service has established a registration to resuscitation campaign that maps public access defibs on to their call-handling system, which means that they can direct bystanders to a defib when one is nearby. Through that system, we can improve their use, and I encourage everyone responsible for a public access defib to register it with the Scottish Ambulance Service.
A critical part of the Scottish Ambulance Service registration of defibs is that a person should be responsible for each defib, check it regularly and confirm that it is working. That is crucial. I hope that the effort to increase registration gives reassurance to Stuart McMillan that we want to build on that and ensure that more people know where defibrillators are in their community.
Has the Scottish Government considered making registration with the Scottish Ambulance Service a mandatory requirement when a defib machine is purchased?
We will certainly continue to work with the Scottish Ambulance Service to make sure that defibs in existence now get the registration required to make sure that the service is aware of defibs in communities. We will continue to keep Stuart McMillan updated on progress in that work.
This is not just about registration; it is also about making sure that someone takes responsibility for defibs to ensure that they work when someone has need of them. That is an important point to recognise. There has been an upsurge in registration. We are working with the Scottish Ambulance Service and that important work will continue.
In response to some of the points that Stuart McMillan raised, I say that we have funded the University of Edinburgh resuscitation research group to carry out modelling work to inform advice on where defibs are best located to save lives. Our expert group is considering the issue raised by Stuart McMillan about the use of defibs for children. I hope that that shows him that there is continued work to make progress on the issues that he described in his opening remarks.
We are starting to make progress on out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Since the strategy’s launch in 2015, the provision of bystander CPR has increased to nearly 50 per cent and survival has also increased. In 2016-17, an additional 62 lives were saved, compared to the previous year. That has only been possible because of the commitment and partnership working of public services, voluntary organisations and communities themselves.
The generosity of those involved in show some heart, the Jayden Orr campaign is a valuable part of that collective effort. I thank the Orr family and friends for their generous work and assure them that the memory of Jayden Orr will live on in the continued effort to raise awareness to help others. He sounds like an incredible young lad, and we will certainly do all that we can to make sure that his experience is not in vain and that we do more to help others throughout communities in Scotland.Meeting closed at 17:43.