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Scottish NHS dental practices to get defibrillators

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Scottish NHS dental practices to get defibrillators

Defibrillators are to be installed in every NHS dental practice across Scotland to increase the survival chances of patients that suffer cardiac arrests.

Supported by £1 million in funding from a Scottish government scheme, 970 defibrillators will be fitted in NHS dental practices.

These will be mapped by ambulance staff so that those who handle emergency calls will be able to direct people to their nearest defibrillator, while patients await the arrival of paramedics. Both staff at the dental practices and members of the public will be able to use these to deliver electric shock treatments.

According to figures announced by the government, more than 1,500 people in Scotland died from cardiac arrests in the last year. Only five per cent of people that suffer from a cardiac arrest survive and their chances are reduced for every minute of delay.

By the end of August, these defibrillators are set to be fitted across all Scottish NHS dental health practices. Any of these practices that have already purchased a defibrillator will be compensated.

The providing of defibrillators, however, does not extend to private practices or NHS dental practices in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. As a result, they will have to purchase defibrillators themselves if they wish to have the technology on hand to aid those who may suffer a cardiac arrest.

Speaking about the funding for defibrillators in Scotland, public health minister Michael Matheson said: "As these machines are becoming easier to use it is only right that the public have more access to its life-saving potential in any public places.

"There are almost 1,000 NHS dental practices in the centre of Scottish communities. By giving them this equipment we are providing 1,000 more chances to save a life. I believe that this investment will save many more lives.”

However, according to Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson Jim Hume MSP, figures show that 60 per cent of the general public do not feel confident about using a defibrillator.

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