MORE people across Wales will be encouraged to learn lifesaving skills, through the development of a new scheme backed by £586,000 of Welsh Government funding during the next two years.

Save a Life Cymru will aim to improve access to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and increase the awareness and use of defibrillators for people from all walks of life.

And as more people learn CPR, they will be encouraged to share their knowledge, developing and strengthening a 'chain of survival' to help improve survival rates for people suffering a cardiac arrest.

“It is a sad fact that a patient’s chance of surviving an out of hospital cardiac arrest decreases by an estimated 10 per cent with every passing minute," said health secretary Vaughan Gething.

"Survival rates are low but there is the potential for many more lives to be saved through prompt and effective CPR and use of a defibrillator.

“Save a Life Cymru will actively target and support groups who are already teaching CPR within their communities.

"It will help them to build local networks, identifying communities across Wales who have less CPR training opportunities, helping them share their knowledge and skills. This will strengthen the chain of survival and build local community resilience.

“This work will build on the sterling efforts already made by the Welsh Ambulance Service to teach CPR in schools - last October, during the ‘Shoctober’ and ‘Restart a Heart’ campaigns, nearly 13,000 schoolchildren were taught CPR.

“Learning from the excellent example of Scotland as well as initiatives in other parts of the world, Save a Life Cymru will lead the work improving access to CPR training and defibrillation.

"We are inviting all third sector, public and other organisations with an interest to become a member of the partnership and work with us to lay the foundation for building lifesaving activity across the country.

“The more people aware of CPR, and confident to use it in a life or death situation, the more lives will be saved. That’s why setting up the Save a Life Cymru partnership is so important.”