NEAS supports defibrillator access in ethnic minority communities

NEAS is rolling out life-saving equipment to ethnic minority communities in the region following a successful funding bid.

The Trust applied for funding from the North of England Commissioning Support Unit (NECS) as part of its ongoing community outreach project with ethnic minority communities, who are statistically less likely to perform bystander CPR according to national research. 

The first of six new defibrillators was presented to the Farooq E Azam Mosque & Islamic Centre in Stockton by members of the service on Sunday 08 January 2023. 

Loveness Scott, positive action lead at NEAS, said: “Over the past 21 months, I have been working closely with communities to ensure they have the skills and knowledge they need to perform lifesaving CPR, and how to access our service when they need it.  

“Securing this additional funding to install more defibrillators ultimately means more lives will be saved.” 

The service’s equality, diversity, and inclusion manager, Mark Johns, added: “During our outreach work with ethnic minority communities, we identified how some people were being put at a disadvantage. 

“These disadvantages occur for several reasons, such as a person’s cultural and faith needs, or tensions that arise between different communities, or an increased likelihood of becoming a victim of hate. All of these are contributing factors as to why communities are less likely to perform CPR or have access to a community public access defibrillator in some community venues and public locations. 

“We hope the ongoing work will help to not only address this imbalance but also raise awareness of our services among those who are typically seldom heard. This is a positive step in our relationship to help save lives of those most in need.” 

Ishraq Ibrahim, treasurer of the Farooq E Azam Mosque thanked the service and wider NHS on behalf of the community, saying: “We have a community of thousands. The mosque is the hub of the local community and is open to and supports people from all faith backgrounds. 

“This is the largest purpose-built mosque in the North East and we hope the defibrillator kindly donated by NEAS and located on our site, with our support will help to save the lives of local people. 

“We wish to pass on our thanks to the NHS for the work they do and to NEAS for their donation”. 

NEAS deputy medical director and cardiology specialist, Prof Michael Norton, who has played a key role in the service’s CPR and defibrillator education outreach, said: “As an emergency service, we understand the time-critical nature of these emergencies well and have attended many patients whose lives have been saved by the swift actions of those around them.  

“For each cardiac arrest patient, there is a 7-10% reduction in their chance of survival with every minute that CPR and use of a defibrillator are delayed. Defibrillators are easy to use and play an incredibly important role in increasing the likelihood of long-term survival. 

“It is an amazing achievement for our organisation to be able to provide communities who are at a higher risk of fatality in cardiac arrests, with the crucial and lifesaving skills like CPR.” 

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