Pharmacies to be defibrillator ‘known localities’

The Guild is partnering with Guy Leech and Heart180 to promote defibrillators to community pharmacies

 The Pharmacy Guild of Australia has entered into a partnership with Guy Leech Heart180 to promote the benefits of having an AED (defibrillator) located in or within a 180-second proximity of every Australian, by encouraging community pharmacies to become a known locality.

The partnership will also focus on encouraging pharmacies to have staff trained and confident in the use of an AED (defibrillator). 

Guild members will be provided with access to the Heart180 media and training modules to assist in the take-up in community pharmacies nationally, the organisation says.

Established in 2016 as part of Guy Leech’s lifesaving and sports health programs, the Heart180 mission is to “position an AED or Defibrillator within 180 seconds of every Australian” by December 2025. Heart180’s goal is to reduce the impact of 30,000 lives lost annually to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

Executive director of the Pharmacy Guild Suzanne Greenwood said the rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest deaths in Australia needed to be addressed.

“It is believed more than 33,000 people experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Australia every year,” she said.

“The survival rate for these people is estimated at 9% on the high side, and as low as 5% on the downside. By any measure, these survival rates are frightening. 

“For every minute that passes after a person has a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases.

“Quick action can save a life and this is why we at the Guild have partnered with Heart180 to raise awareness of the risks of cardiac arrest and to start the process of trying to have a defibrillator located in every pharmacy throughout the country, with pharmacy staff fully trained in how to use it. 

“There are some 5,900 community pharmacies across Australia, and in capital cities 97% of people are no further than 2.5km from a pharmacy. In regional areas, 65% of people are within 2.5km of a pharmacy. Community pharmacy is at the heart of every community.”

Former Australian Ironman surf lifesaving champion and founder of Heart180 Guy Leech says that “we need to reach as many people as possible to help them understand the risk, and make sure they know how to respond. It makes sense that your local pharmacy has a defibrillator on hand and there’s a pharmacist who is trained to assist”.

The Heart180 partnership will be promoted to community pharmacies nationally with pharmacies encouraged to take advantage of the offer including media and training.

Advice from the Heart Foundation is if sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the first step is to call Triple Zero (000), followed by Compression-Only CPR and then to use an AED (defibrillator).

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