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Government minister urges Londoners to sign up to save lives

A government minister has urged Londoners to register to save lives after London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics trained her in life-saving skills.

Health minister Helen Whately was taught how to perform chest compressions and use a defibrillator – skills that give someone in cardiac arrest the best chance of survival.

She was also introduced to London Ambulance Service paramedics Eliza and Josephine who helped save the life of 16-year-old Joel Quadri when he suffered a cardiac arrest outside Twickenham Stadium in December 2021. LAS medics who were in the area by chance used a public defibrillator to re-start his heart after he collapsed.

Meeting the team at Twickenham Stadium inspired Ms Whatley to register to become a London Lifesaver – an LAS campaign to save more lives in the capital.

The Minister’s training came as the Government invited community organisations across England to bid for a share of a £1 million fund to buy life-saving defibrillators for community spaces like town halls, local parks or post offices.

Ms Whately said: “Meeting paramedics at Twickenham today and hearing how a young life was saved by the swift use of a defibrillator shows how important it is for the public to have access to these machines.

“Please register your interest for our £1 million fund to increase the number of defibrillators in the community, and sign up to become a London Lifesaver to learn how to use these extraordinary devices in just minutes.”

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their heart stops beating and stops pumping blood and oxygen around the body. If person does not get help, they will die.

LAS responds to around 12,000 patients a year in cardiac arrest in the capital. At the moment fewer than one in 10 people survive.

Early chest compressions and defibrillation can more than double someone’s chances of survival.

Samantha Palfreyman-Jones, Head of First Responders, said: “Anyone can have a cardiac arrest and anyone can save a life.

“Most cardiac arrests happen at home – so if you learn these simple skills, in the few minutes before an ambulance arrives, you could save the person you love.”

LAS has helped to install nearly 8,000 defibrillators in public places across London. But it is aiming to increase that number, particularly in areas most in need.

You can register to become a London Lifesaver here.

London Lifesavers is funded through a grant provided by NHS Charities Together to our London Ambulance Charity.

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