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24 Jan 2022

Project explores why people in our region are less likely to deliver, or receive, bystander CPR.

Man giving CPR on a dummy

A new research project led by the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and supported by the NIHR ARC North East and North Cumbria, has looked at why people in our region are less likely to deliver – or receive – bystander CPR.

What happens if you suffer a cardiac arrest and you’re not in hospital? Members of the public or those nearby have a vital role to play in improving someone’s chance of survival by recognising a cardiac arrest, calling for help, beginning CPR and using a publicly accessible defibrillator before the arrival of a paramedic.

However, despite the North East and North Cumbria having a higher number of cardiac arrests happening in the community compared to other parts of the country, statistics show that if you have suffer a cardiac arrest outside of hospital in our region, you are less likely to receive CPR and therefore less likely to survive.

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A research team at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) have secured £50,000 in funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration (ARC) for the North East and North Cumbria (NENC) for a 12-month project to better understand the reasons for this, and to try and begin to address these inequalities.

NEAS Research paramedic Karl Charlton, who is leading the project, said: “We know that every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces the chances of survival by 10 per cent, but that for some reason, people in the North East and North Cumbria are statistically less likely to receive bystander CPR than other parts of the country. Current research suggests that this could be down to higher levels of social deprivation in our region but we don’t understand why.

“This research aims to begin to address this inequality by trying to understand how people feel about bystander CPR, and will target areas of deprivation and marginalised communities. Our findings will then inform future research to redress this issue.”

As part of the research, more than 400 members of the public have shared their views via a face-to-face questionnaire to understand how likely they would be to initiate bystander CPR. Of those 400, 40 will be invited for a one-to-one in-depth follow-up interview to get a better understanding of their answers.

The work is supported by a number of partners, including academics from the University of Cumbria, Northumbria University and Teesside University, and the findings will be reported during 2022.

If you would like to find out more about the project, please email

Keywords: acute care, emergency care