Dentists join life-saver network in bid to get 130 Hampshire practices fitted with defibrillators

CAMPAIGN SUPPORT: Dentist Nick Forster, second left, with Keith Percival, Claudia Peace and Peter Hackett.

CAMPAIGN SUPPORT: Dentist Nick Forster, second left, with Keith Percival, Claudia Peace and Peter Hackett.

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A HAMPSHIRE dentist is the latest person to improve emergency care for heart attack victims by installing a life-saving defibrillator.

The crucial issue has been highlighted by a Daily Echo campaign after Romsey schoolboy Sam Mangoro collapsed and was saved by a defibrillator.

Sam, 16, from Mountbatten School, recently returned to classes after treatment at Southampton General Hospital.

Now Nick Forster, of St James’ Dental Practice in Winchester, and five other colleagues, have set up the NHS England Community Defibrillator Scheme to allow public more access to life-saving equipment.

Heart attacks They want to see as many as possible installed at dental surgeries throughout Hampshire.

Mr Forster said: “Around 30,000 people have a heart attack every year.

“Just 18 per cent of them survive which means 24,000 people don’t every year. That’s probably about 500 people in Hampshire alone. With defibrillators we can save about three-quarters of those people but people don’t have any access to them. They don’t know where are and by the time the ambulance has arrived maybe six minutes have passed and they are vital minutes.”

Mr Forster said part of the scheme is to also provide useful information to the public when they phone the emergency services. When the caller contacts 999 to report a heart attack they will be given the location for the nearest box and the code to access the defibrillator before they are told what to do while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

It is hoped around 130 boxes will be installed in dental practices across the county.

“The whole idea of the scheme is to provide more to the public,” Mr Forster added. “In Winchester there are 15 dental practices and our scheme gives the dentists a grant to put the box outside the surgery and to install it.”

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