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Practices lack vital lifesaving kits

Health industry’s defibrillators would go ignored in a genuine emergency, survey finds

A new survey reveals that many dental practices are without key lifesaving equipment.

More than half of the staff polled were unaware if their practices were kitted out with a defibrillator.

Dentistry figured among the health industry survey which also highlights a need for more education to rid misplaced fears about misuse.
The survey shows that 54% of staff in workplaces such as dental surgeries and GP practices stated that their premises either do not have, or that they are not aware that they have, a defibrillator.

Of those questioned that do have defibrillators, 36% do not know how or would not be confident enough to use it.
This raises fears that this emergency heart equipment may not be used in the places where it is most needed.
Vincent Mathieu, managing director of DOC UK calls for more education for health service providers: “With 124,000 heart attacks a year in the UK touching people of all ages and physical conditions, defibrillators are essential equipment – and you expect the health industry to set the gold standard. However, defibrillators do no good if they are not used. It’s vital that companies within the health industry sector have an on-site defibrillator that their staff will be confident to use in case of an emergency.”
The survey indicated that the general apprehension about using emergency equipment is based on risks that do not exist. For instance, a defibrillator will only work on someone who is having a genuine cardiac arrest. 48% per cent of respondents were concerned about injuring the casualty or being held liable if something went wrong. This is alarming as the equipment will only function on people who are having a cardiac arrest, and there have been no cases of people being sued for using a defibrillator.
Dr Stephan Van Wyk, a dentist at The Bridge Dental Centre, East Twickenham, highlights the importance of defibrillators in dental practices which are high stress environments.

He said: 'Although we are not required to have a defibrillator at the practice, it is a recommendation for dentists and regarded as best practice. We hope that we never have to use it, but we see having the defibrillator as an extension of our customer service, it’s an added extra to help make our customers feel comfortable and reassured.'
DOC’s defibrillators work by connecting the user to a call centre staffed with medically trained personnel who guide the user through the defibrillation process, removing the need for training, and removing the fear factor should an emergency occur.

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Its great that someone has done this research but what would be far more useful is a risk assessment - what is the likelihood of someone having a cardiac arrest at the dentist? How often has it actually happened? I worked in a sedation clinic and because we dealt with very nervous patients or stressful procedures, we always had a defibrillator to hand. But if you want the average GDP to get on board with this then show them some numbers.
Absolutely agree that all clinical settings should have an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), this Resuscitation Council (UK) and British Heart Foundation research has been around for a long time, it can mean the difference between about 5% survival without one and up to 74% with one immediately available. What you don't need is the extremely expensive and unnecessary DOC package that seems to play on fears of litigation, particularly having heard of a case when there was an extremely long delay in the Ambulance Service being called by this "service". An AED from somewhere like the Defib Shop will cost around £1000, they are designed for ease of use, they self check, there is little or no maintenance and it will tell you through warning lights and sounds if a fault develops. They normally have several years of warranty, up to 10 years in some cases and your supplier would usually provide you with a replacement without delay while yours is fixed. The supplier will also normally contact you when batteries and pads need replacing, but like other medical devices they do have a use by date on. Your usual Medical Emergency, Basic Life Support training provider will normally be able to provide the simple training as part of your normal update to allay any concerns, but even without training they are simple and easy to use, you do not need a call centre to tell you what to do, the AED does that. The DOC website tells you that an operator from "Allianz Global Assistance" European call centre (a travel & breakdown insurance company) will answer your phone call (normal length phone number) within "90 seconds" and they will talk you through this as well as then call 999/112 for the ambulance service on your behalf and they will provide the ambulance service with your GPS (satnav) coordinates. Or You could save all that time by calling 999 or 112 directly yourself, with the call normally answered within 10 seconds, your location immediately identified with normal telecoms equipment and confirmed with you. The extremely well trained NHS Ambulance Emergency Dispatcher having dispatched assistance to you, will assist you if required to use your AED and continue CPR with the rest of your emergency equipment, while first responders, paramedics and an ambulance is on its way to you. All this takes place in less than a minute. That unnecessary, prolonged time taken through a third party call centre could delay the emergency response and mean the difference between life and death. In London where the dental practice mentioned is based, has one of the best heart attack and cardiac arrest responses and success rates in the world. The non clinical public are successfully using the hundreds of Public Access Defibrillators in London and around the UK without any third party involvement. Like any other clinical decisions, buying and using medical emergency equipment should be fully evidence based. Check Resuscitation Council (UK) along with the GDC for all the evidence you need. Abby