A DEFIBRILLATOR has been installed at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre as part of a county-wide initiative to improve emergency healthcare in rural locations.

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael officially launched the defibrillator at WWT Slimbridge, which has been installed in the visitor centre by the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT).

Defibrillators can help save lives by resetting the heart’s normal rhythm in the minutes after a cardiac arrest.

Anyone can use the machines themselves as they talk you through what to do and that, alongside advice from emergency call-handlers, means that anyone can help to save a life.

Mr Carmichael said: “By installing this life-saving equipment it could make a real difference to someone in jeopardy at Slimbridge.”

A SWASFT spokeswoman said the need for the equipment could come from many things including heart attacks, strokes and major trauma, adding that early defibrillation for patients in cardiac arrest can make all the difference to the outcome.

“Cardiac arrest does not discriminate against age, sex or fitness – it can happen to anyone at any time,” she said.

“SWASFT is the most rural ambulance service in the country so by ensuring rural communities have access to a defibrillator is exceptionally important and plays a huge part in getting people the care they need, immediately – which is what is required in a cardiac arrest situation.”

SWASFT has launched many initiatives in Gloucestershire, including an increasing number of community responders as well as giving better access to community defibrillators.

Mr Carmichael was also able to look around one of the Trust’s new rapid-response vehicles (RRVs) which has been specifically designed to accommodate necessary life-saving equipment but can also get to the scene of an emergency quickly.