HEALTH services have backed a campaign run by the British Heart Foundation encouraging potential life-savers to perform effective CPR.
Hollywood hard man Vinnie Jones is the face of the campaign which urges people to forget the kiss of life and concentrate on the chest compressions.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said for untrained bystanders, resuscitating heart attack victims with uninterrupted hard chest compressions is more effective than stopping to give - often ineffective - rescue breaths.
The new campaign - which includes TV adverts starring ex-footballer Vinnie - was launched after a recent BHF survey discovered nearly half of people are put off helping someone who has collapsed because of a lack of knowledge about CPR.
Ambulance bosses in West Yorkshire said they fully support the campaign.
Paul Mudd, locality director for West Yorkshire at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said: “We fully support this campaign encouraging people to call 999 and start chest compressions immediately if they see someone collapse and stop breathing.
“When someone is suffering a cardiac arrest, time is a crucial factor in the chain of survival and every second counts. The first few minutes are particularly critical and if effective CPR can be carried out prior to the arrival of an ambulance, lives can be saved and disability reduced.”
People can sign up to learn basic life-saving skills including CPR at courses in Halifax run by St John Ambulance Service.
Isobel Kearl, training and development officer for St John Ambulance, also backed the BHF campaign and said: “People who are not trained in CPR could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved by carrying out chest compressions on cardiac arrest victims, yet currently too many people are dying because not enough people know what to do.
“Encouraging untrained bystanders to carry out chest compressions is something St John Ambulance supports but we also encourage more people to acquire broader first aid knowledge including full CPR as this still gives people the best chance to live.”
Research by the Resuscitation Council UK said doing chest compressions is more effective than mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when performed by untrained people. But administering the kiss of life is still recommended by trained people.
A fifth of people also admitted being worried about performing the kiss of life.
The campaign suggests people to chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees’ hit Stayin’ Alive.
Ellen Mason, a BHF senior cardiac nurse, said: “By changing the message to the general public we really hope more people will intervene if someone has a cardiac arrest.”
To find out about St John Ambulance courses running in Halifax over the coming weeks visit www.sja.org.uk.