Lifesaving Equipment Funded By Big Lottery Fund

A groundbreaking piece of equipment funded by the National Lottery is already helping to save lives onboard the Cornwall Air Ambulance.

The LUCAS 2 chest compression device automatically delivers lifesaving CPR chest compressions, keeping oxygen and blood pumping around the body of a patient in cardiac arrest, leaving paramedics free to attend to the patient’s other needs.

The device – which costs over £9,000 - has been wholly funded by The Big Lottery Fund, which allocates National Lottery funding to good causes.

Head of Fundraising for Cornwall Air Ambulance, Susie Smith, said: “As far as we are aware this is the first time this charity has received lottery funding, so we were over the moon when we heard we’d been successful.

“This is the most exciting piece of equipment I have ever fundraised for, as it will make a difference to such a large number of our patients.”

Cornwall’s over-65 population is significantly higher than the national average. As a result, one in three missions flown by Cornwall Air Ambulance are to help patients suffering cardiac emergencies. 

The device will allow resuscitation to continue uninterrupted from the moment paramedics arrive at an incident to the time the patient reaches hospital.

Aircrew Paramedic Amy Sainsbury said: “Sometimes CPR needs to continue for up to 40 minutes during a transfer to hospital. Unlike with manual CPR the compressions given by the LUCAS device remain 100% effective for as long as they are needed. CPR can even continue whilst a patient is being moved, say from a house to the helicopter.

“The device also allows us as paramedics to concentrate on a patient’s other injuries and needs. It’s like having a third pair of hands onboard the helicopter and will help us in our mission to save lives.” 

In 2013 Cornwall Air Ambulance flew 196 missions to patients suffering cardiac emergencies, representing one in every three missions flown.