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Why a defibrillator in your local Pharmacy can help save more lives in communities all around Wales

Cardiac arrest can prove fatal within minutes without timely intervention. If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes of a cardiac arrest, survival chances increase from 6% to over 50%. That is a significant difference and more must be done to increase survival rates. Unfortunately, awareness of what a defibrillator is, where to find one and how to use it still remains low.

In the event of such an emergency, about half of the population in the UK have no idea where the nearest public access defibrillator is located. A 999 operator should be able to direct callers to the nearest defibrillator, but this is very much dependent on the device being registered with the local NHS ambulance service. Welsh Hearts Charity works in partnership with The Welsh Ambulance Service, to increase access to defibrillators and also to offer free CPR training to communities all over Wales.

Most pharmacies are well-known to their local communities and have been identified as a good location for the Community Access Defibrillator Appeal in partnership with Welsh Hearts. Members of the community are encouraged to get behind this campaign and also to fundraise for their public access defibrillator. The charity has pledged to support with free CPR training workshops open to anyone.

Sudir Sehrawat, the owner of Clifton Street Pharmacy said: “As a Pharmacist, I am proud to be supporting the fantastic work of Welsh Hearts in our communities. We have donated all proceeds from our Christmas fundraising to this campaign for the benefit of our local community. We have also pledged to continue fundraising for more defibrillators in other community pharmacies in Wales. I call upon all pharmacies in Wales to help support this life-saving initiative.”

In the past 4 years, Welsh Hearts has placed over 900 defibrillators and trained of 36,000 in CPR. Sharon Owen, the charity director said: “As we celebrate our 5th birthday as a charity, we are honoured to be involved in such an important initiative. I believe the impact on lives will be far-reaching, as no one should die in Wales due to a lack of a public access defibrillator in the event of an emergency. They should be available everywhere. I am excited to work with local pharmacies because they serve as a hub for most communities, so it would be great to see more support for this campaign.”

Dr Hasmukhlal Shah said: “As a trustee of Welsh Hearts, I am delighted to see the impact of the work the charity is doing. With over 6000 people a year in Wales dying from an undiagnosed heart condition, public access defibrillators in our local pharmacies can be a real lifesaver.”

Taking immediate action in the event of an emergency can make a big difference. For far too many communities, the information on their nearest defibrillator is not readily available. If the public is educated on the location of their nearest defibrillator such as the nearest pharmacy, there is great potential to act quickly and also save more lives.

Local community members can get involved in the campaign for their Public Access Defibrillator by visiting www.welshhearts.org/donate for more options.