SECAmb welcomes BHF campaign
When a person collapses, the response taken by bystanders can
make the difference between life and death.
So SECAmb heartily welcomes the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF)
campaign, launched this week, that promotes hands-only CPR. Since
2004, we have seen the benefits of focussing on effective chest
compressions through Protocol C - our pioneering resuscitation
‘No more kissing – just hard and fast CPR to the Bee Gees,’ is
what the BHF is recommending and the use of effective compressions
to a fast rhythm – 100 beats a minute - is the underlying principle
of Protocol C. In fact, when providing advice over the phone to a
999 caller, prior to the arrival of the ambulance crew, staff in
SECAmb’s three Emergency Dispatch Centres (EDCs) use a metronome to
count out the rhythm – ensuring the CPR being provided is as
effective as possible.
Every member of staff in the EDC has a small metronome on their
desk and all front-line vehicles are equipped with portable
metronomes to assist ambulance clinicians in providing effective
compressions. The use of metronomes has proved so effective that
they are now used in ambulance control centres worldwide.
Initially introduced into Sussex, Protocol C was the initiative
of Professor Douglas Chamberlain, world-renowned cardiologist and
Honorary Medical Advisor to SECAmb and Brighton paramedic Dave
Fletcher. It differs from previous resuscitation practice in that
it enables paramedics to respond more effectively to cardiac
arrests by keeping their focus on optimum effect chest
compressions. From 2006 onwards, it was rolled out across Surrey
and Kent also.
Since the introduction of Protocol C into SECAmb, there has been
a noticeable improvement across the Trust in terms of the number of
patients achieving ROSC (Return of Spontaneous Circulation) – when
a patient starts to make respiratory effort after a cardiac arrest.
A recent study, which looked at patients over a two year period in
the Brighton and Hove area, found that whilst using Protocol C, 60%
of patients with heart disease whose hearts had stopped arrived in
hospital with a pulse and out of these nearly 50% survived to
discharge. Although we are unable to prove that this high success
rate was down to Protocol C alone, the figures are very good by
international standards and appreciably better than any others
within the UK. As a result, three other Trusts are now considering
implementing Protocol C.
Dr Jane Pateman, SECAmb’s Medical Director said: “Within SECAmb,
we are keen to do everything possible to give patients the best
outcome. The BHF’s campaign is a memorable way to promote a really
important message, and hopefully will give people the confidence to
make that vital difference in the seconds and minutes that