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Saving Lives Together

South Western Ambulance Service Cardiac Arrest Campaign - ‘Saving Lives Together’

There are approximately 59,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) in England each year and 28,000 attempts to resuscitate people. Within SWASFT there are around 3,500 - 4,000 OHCA resuscitation incidents each year.

A cardiac arrest is a time critical medical emergency where the heart stops beating effectively and abruptly. When this happens, blood stops pumping round the body and the brain is starved of oxygen which causes the person to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

"My whole world went black"

Across the UK, current cardiac arrest survival rates are around an average of 9%, compared to more than 20% in other countries around the world. We want to do better in the South West.

In 2018, SWASFT internally launched the ‘Saving Lives Together’ campaign, a multi year focus on cardiac arrest.

We are now extremely pleased to share that we have teamed up with Gloucester Rugby to kick start the public campaign to highlight the importance of learning how to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).


David Humphreys, Director of Rugby said; “Gloucester Rugby is proud to support the Saving Lives Together campaign with South Western Ambulance Service to raise awareness of the importance of learning CPR. This campaign could save lives across the South West and across the whole UK.”

What can you do?

The ambulance service cannot always save lives without support from the public and we need to change people’s perception regarding their willingness, confidence and ability to render aid to someone who suffers a cardiac arrest. Doing something is better than doing nothing, and you could help save a life.

SWASFT needs bystanders to help us save lives together by:

  • Recognising when someone isn’t breathing
  • Quickly calling 999 for help
  • Starting CPR and
  • Using public access defibrillators

The SWASFT public engagement campaign has a South West focus which aims to compliment national initiatives from organisations such as the British Heart Foundation and build on the fantastic results that have been achieved by the ‘Restart a Heart campaign’ which is an annual initiative led by the Resuscitation Council (UK). We hope that members of the public all over the UK will step up to save lives.

Two main areas of focus for the ‘Saving Lives’ work have been identified which are aligned to the well established Resuscitation Council 'Chain of Survival'.

(Resuscitation Council UK)

It is globally recognised within healthcare, that unless action is taken within the first two links of this chain, survival following OHCA is extremely unlikely and for every minute that a cardiac arrest patient does not receive CPR and defibrillation; their chance of survival reduces by 10%

This ‘Chain of Survival’ (particularly the first three links) needs to be more widely embedded in public consciousness and become as well established and well known as the ‘FAST’ stroke recognition campaign.


Greater awareness amongst the general public, including young people of school age on how to recognise and manage cardiac arrest through the use of CPR and public access defibrillators is vital to establish an improvement in cardiac arrest survival rates


SWASFT want to encourage even more people to learn about CPR and the use of defibrillators and we will be conducting a comprehensive program of schools engagement as well as offering community based training opportunities.

Register your Defibrillator

Learn CPR

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Our charity, the South Western Ambulance Charity (SWAC), uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of SWASFT staff and volunteers. To donate to the charity, please click here.


  2. Perkins, Gavin.D. et al (2014) Cardiac Arrest and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation   Outcome Reports: Update of the Utstein Resuscitation Registry Templates for Out-of- Hospital Cardiac Arrest. Resuscitation ,96 , 328 - 340

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South Western Ambulance Charity

The South Western Ambulance Charity, founded in 1995, uses gifted monies to benefit those in our communities who use our service and to improve the welfare of the staff and volunteers of the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust. 

Our charitable support covers Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire including Bristol and Swindon.

If you would like to show your appreciation for the care that you or your loved one has received from us in the form of a charitable donation please visit our online giving website: