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LCQ7: Automatic external defibrillators

     Following is a question by the Hon Mrs Sophie Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr York Chow, in the Legislative Council today (February 22):


     According to the information of the Department of Health, about 73,300 people were hospitalised and 6,414 died because of heart disease in 2009.  Moreover, studies have revealed that the use of automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) within the first 10 minutes of heart attack (i.e. sudden cardiac arrest) can increase the success rate of emergency rescue of patients suffering from heart attack; and quite a number of regions (e.g. the United States and Taiwan, etc.) have also vigorously promoted the wider use of AEDs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the authorities have any policy to promote AEDs, encourage more private organisations to purchase AEDs, and enhance the public's knowledge of AEDs; and

(b) whether the authorities will take the initiative to provide guidelines to recommend that AEDs and other first aid facilities should be installed at designated public places (e.g. large shopping malls, stadiums, sports grounds and MTR stations, etc.)?



     Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are devices used to perform cardiac resuscitation on patients. Medical and first-aid researches have shown that with the simultaneous use of an AED in the course of performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a patient suffering from heart attack, the survival rate of the patient could be increased. At present, all ambulances of the Fire Services Department (FSD) are equipped with AEDs. The Hospital Authority has also acquired AEDs in the public hospitals and out-patient department/clinics for first aid treatment. Before using AEDs on patients, consideration must be given to the patients' prevailing circumstances and attention must be paid to the operation procedures.  In this connection, anyone using AEDs must first receive training on first aid and operation of the device, and should send the patients to hospitals for further medical treatment as quickly as possible.

(a) and (b) The Government has all along promoted the public's awareness of first aid treatment for heart attack through various means. FSD has provided free CPR and automated defibrillation training to the public since 2007 and encouraged institutions to install AEDs in public places. More than 7,200 people have received training provided by FSD and acquired the two basic theories of the first aid skills and knowledge on the use of relevant device. People who have received training include staff of property management companies, airport security personnel, staff of residential care homes for the elderly, government staff, staff in the hotel industry, MTR staff, staff of theme parks, staff of media organisations, staff of large charitable organisations, scouts in Hong Kong, fire safety ambassadors and civilian staff of FSD.

     The Department of Health (DH) organised 74 Basic Life Support Provider Courses covering the proper use of AEDs for 577 healthcare personnel in 2011 through its Professional Development and Quality Assurance Service. In addition, various organisations in Hong Kong also offer training courses on CPR and automated external defibrillation to the public. In 2011, Hong Kong St. John Ambulance organised 814 training courses on the use of AEDs for about 11,090 people, while Hong Kong Red Cross offered 139 relevant training courses in which a total of 845 people participated.

     At present, AEDs have been installed at a number of places in the territory, including office buildings, theme parks, schools, large shopping malls, private housing estates, private clubhouses, commercial buildings and nursing homes. The Government will continue to raise the public's awareness of first aid treatment for heart attack through different channels.

Ends/Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Issued at HKT 11:59


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