New scheme for Haverhill could prove to be a life saver

Betty McLatchy has devised a new scheme to cut time in treating people who suffer heart attacks while out in Haverhil town centre.
Betty McLatchy has devised a new scheme to cut time in treating people who suffer heart attacks while out in Haverhil town centre.

A new early warning system that would help save vital seconds in the treatment of heart attacks and cardiac arrests has been launched in Haverhill.

Haver-Heart Alert has been devised by Betty McLatchy, who announced it at Tuesday’s (July 29) full town council meeting.

Mrs McLatchy, who is a town councillor, hopes the scheme will enable retailers to be able to gain access as quickly as possible to defibrillators that are available at separate locations in the town for community use.

She is now appealing for sponsorship to help provide stickers that can be placed at shops the town to inform staff how they can swiftly get hold of a defibrillator should a life threatening situation arise.

The new scheme links into the Haverwell Community Wellbeing Fund that Mrs McLatchy launched in May 2013 to raise £5,000 for a piece of ultrasound equipment.

Mrs McLatchy, of Slaters Drive, Haverhill, said: “Through my Haverwell Community Wellbeing Fund I want to get the stickers put in all the shops for an early warning system so the staff can ring either place where the defibrillators are so they can get one quickly, because every second counts.

“The stickers will have the phone numbers of the places where the defibrillators are held and that saves precious time before the ambulance service get there.

“We can help ourselves in Haverhill in this way because every second counts.

“Firms can sponsor it. Any firm willing to sponsor the Haver-Heart Alert scheme, please contact me and I will arrange for the stickers to be made for the tills and I would provide training sessions for the staff at the shops on how to use the system.”

One defibrillator is currently kept at Haverhill Arts Centre and one at each of the three GP surgeries in Haverhill.

Haverhill Town Council has already agreed to provide the funding, added Mrs McLatchy, for a new defibrillator at the arts centre as the one there is now quite old.

Although the defibrillators cost £1,000 each, Mrs McLatchy is going to apply to the British Heart Foundation’s Automated External Defibrillator Fund, which if successful would enable one to be brought for just £400 as the charity would cover the remaining cost.

Since launching Haverwell Community Wellbeing Fund, Mrs McGlatchy has been busy organising a number of fund-raisers and is now just £336 shy of the target of £5,000.

Once purchased, the ultrasound could be used for baby scans, treating stones, detecting heart problems and fluid detection.

At Tuesday’s council meeting Cllr Paul Firman offered to cover the printing costs for the stickers and after the meeting John Burns offered a further £400 towards Haver-Heart Alert.

Cllr Maureen Byrne also offered some money from her locality budget.

After the offers of financial help. Mrs McLatchey said: “I think it’s marvellous. It’s such a lovely joint effort and because I’ve made this non political they are willing to fund me.”

Cllr Byrne also asked if shop staff would need training to use the machines and if so who would deliver it.

Mrs McLatchy said: “The equipment now doesn’t need any training. Its got instructions on it. It’s very easy to use.”