Our 50th defibrillator

The Heartstart Thatcham team joined the Burdwood Surgery on 16th September 2017 to mark their 30th anniversary. There were a number of events taking place within the surgery with members of the public dropping by to find out more about the surgery, meet staff and some of the organisations that work in the community.

The Heartstart Thatcham team worked with the Cooperative who earlier in the year chose the charity for its Local Community Fund. The fundraising allowed the team to visit many local Cooperative stores and talk to not only staff but customers too helping to raise awareness of not only what the team do but about the defibrillators and CPR. Part of the funds raised have been used to help place public access defibrillators in the community.

Most doctors surgeries, Burdwood Surgery included, have a defibrillator inside and have done for some time. Being internal though it means access is restricted to opening hours which is fine for patients at the surgery but for the wider community presents a problem. The team had been looking for a while to place a defibrillator that is available around the clock in the Burdwood/Wheelers Green Way area and so we approached the Burdwood Surgery to see if an additional unit could also be placed externally. The surgery jumped at the opportunity. In an emergency you need to easily be able to access help and so placing units at well known locations is best and most know where the surgery is. This, the latest defibrillator was unveiled at the celebrations with the device being officially unveiled with a ribbon being cut by Dr M Morgan, who also was celebrating his 30th year at the Burdwood Surgery.

Scheme Coordinator for Heartstart Thatcham, Nick Young, said “we have placed defibrillators throughout West Berkshire and beyond. In this instance we have had the pleasure of working with the Burdwood Surgery in Thatcham. The device is available around the clock and helps protect local residents as well as businesses.

The defibrillator is the 50th device that the team have helped to place. The first public access defibrillator placed by the team is located at Henwick Worthy Sports Ground and was unveiled in October 2014. Over the summer months this year the team have worked with local residents and councils to place units in Padworth, Stanford Dingley and Midgham. Stanford Dingley residents had theirs placed in a phone box which also houses books for local residents to swap and the first one of our units to be placed in a phone box.

During the celebration event the team had had lots of people trying CPR and a defibrillator. Instructors were quick to point out that heart attack and cardiac arrest are not the same thing. A heart attack is when the blood supply to the heart is blocked or restricted. The casualty is breathing, conscious and will have pain (chest, arm, back jaw, and so on) along with possibly feeling dizzy, sick and sweating. Sit the casualty down and call for an ambulance. A cardiac arrest is where the heart is no longer pumping blood around the body. In this instance the casualty is not breathing, or not breathing normally and is unconscious. Dial 999 for an ambulance start CPR and if available use a defibrillator.

Nick noted “the 999 call handler will tell you where the nearest defibrillator is and how to access it. Also remember cardiac arrest does not discriminate and can happen to anyone; young or old, health and fit or not. Defibrillators are used, in conjunction with CPR, to give someone suffering a cardiac arrest the best possible chance of survival.