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Matters of the Heart

Jason Palmer, Volunteer Trustee and Director of The Sussex Heart Charity explains what this award winning charity do to save lives in Sussex

Last November The Sussex Heart Charity (SHC) became the proud recipients of the King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS), making them stand out as the leading cardiac care charity in the county. They have been quietly raising funds since 1987, year in year out, to support and improve cardiac outcomes for the people of Sussex.

Cardiac arrest sadly affects 28,000 people every year in the UK and tragically only 10% of people survive. For every minute of delay, the chance of survival falls. Therefore, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and access to one remains key. 

An AED can be used by anyone; no training is required. AEDs will NOT deliver a shock until the device has determined that it is medically necessary. It is worth remembering, whilst 999 is called immediately and an AED is sought - immediate chest compressions will buy time, supporting the brain by delivering some blood flow to anyone in cardiac arrest.

From when it was new and novel, to this day, SHC has supported and funded the installation of defibrillators, such as at the Amex Stadium, supporting the Sussex community attending matches and events at the Brighton Albion Football Club. Across Sussex we see almost 400 AED devices thanks to SHC. 

The SHC worked directly with Southern Rail (GTR) on a countywide five-year installation program, ‘Sussex Heart Charity Southern Railway Defib’ Project’, back in 2016, to place automated defibrillators in every railway station in Sussex. They had the support of the then Home Secretary and Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye, Amber Rudd; MP for Lewes and current Health Minister, Maria Caulfield; and former MP for Mid Sussex, Lord Soames.

The Sussex Heart Charity has pioneered initiatives, supported projects and funded research and groundbreaking new specialist equipment.

In addition, amongst many other things, the Sussex Heart Charity has funded the first ever Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse and service in Sussex – once the need was proven and the service established – now we see rehabilitation services dotted across Sussex and funded by the NHS.

SHC was behind the first Electrophysiology Study (EPS) in Sussex – used to diagnose and correct arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythm).

Sussex saw its first ever dedicated Heart Failure Nurse because of SHC support; today there’s five, all funded by the NHS.

It is through awareness and the generous support received that SHC are able to make a difference and improve the lives of people with heart conditions in Sussex.

How can you help improve survival rates, services and care for cardiac patients across Sussex? By joining Sussex Heart Charity as a friend – become a regular giver or make a one off donation, consider us in your Will, leave a legacy, attend an event (register for the SHC Sponsored Walk in May 2024!) or simply sign up to our mailing list and spread the word about what we do.

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