Local communities across Scotland are to benefit from a £100,000 investment to increase the number of public access defibrillators across Scotland.
The Scottish Government funding will allow the Scottish Ambulance Service to purchase and deploy defibrillators across the country, providing local communities with life saving equipment and training.
The £100,000 scheme will help to fund equipment that has up until now been almost entirely funded through community, charitable or business resources.
It costs approximately £3,000 to purchase, fit and install one defibrillator.
Health Secretary Alex Neil was today visiting Aberdeen Health Village where he met ambulance staff and trained first responders who demonstrated the difference a defibrillator can make.
Mr Neil said: “Early CPR and defibrillation, quickly followed up by advanced life-support from an ambulance team, can greatly improve chances of survival from a cardiac arrest.
“By putting this life saving equipment in the hands of local communities, and giving them the appropriate training, we can help people on the ground administer life saving care in the minutes before the ambulance service arrives.
“I’m delighted to be able to announce the funding for these defibrillators and by working with the Scottish Ambulance Service, we hope that people and communities across Scotland will reap the benefits.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service provides advice and guidance to any council, community, organisation or business interested in developing a publicly accessible defibrillator.
This community resilience initiative is part of a wider emergency life support programme run by the Scottish Ambulance Service in conjunction with third sector and private partners, including British Heart Foundation Scotland.
This new fund complements the Emergency Life Support project funded by the Scottish Government to allow British Heart Foundation Scotland to bring 40 more schools into their Heartstart scheme, eventually training up to 8,000 school students in giving CPR - a vital link in the chain of survival while a defibrillator is activated.
Bernard Gallacher, who set up the Bernard Gallacher Defibrillator Campaign after suffering a heart attack last year, said: “This is fantastic news. Personally I’d like defibrillators to be as ubiquitous as fire extinguishers because they are lifesavers, pure and simple. When I had my cardiac arrest last August, I was so grateful that the Marquess Hotel had a defibrillator on the site, and that there were people there to help.”