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Mobile machine could be a lifesaver for golfers

October 23, 2013

Nairn Golf Club is ensuring that staff are trained in the use of the equipment to react swiftly to an emergency if a player suffers a cardiac arrest on the course.

Home to the Walker Cup in 1999 and the Curtis Cup in 2012, Nairn will play host to the 2016 Home Internationals competition.

The club, which has 1,400 members, is a member of the Highland Golf Links (HGL) partnership that promotes stay and play visits to the Highlands. HGL also includes Royal Dornoch Golf Club, which installed a defibrillator two years ago, and Castle Stuart Golf Links, which hosted the Scottish Open for the last three years, and which is considering installing a machine for the start of next season.

Each year thousands of people in the UK suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospitals and without prompt intervention this can result in death. Using a defibrillator to give the heart a controlled electric shock within a few minutes of collapse provides the best possible chance of survival.

Last week Ryder Cup hero Bernard Gallacher, who is recovering from a heart attack, called for defibrillators to be made available on golf courses.

Gallacher, 64, spent several days in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary after falling ill at a function in the city in August. He credits the quick thinking of staff and the availability of a defibrillator at the hotel where he was due to speak for helping his recovery. His management company said last week he will be championing a campaign to make defibrillators widely accessible at golf courses around the UK.

Senior workers at Nairn GC have already familiarised themselves with the use of the mobile machine, which cost, £1,500, and others, including greenkeepers and admin bar and kitchen staff will all receive training from local GP Dr Adrian Baker.

Yvonne Forgan, the golf club manager, said the move was prompted by a member of the club's staff suffering a mild heart attack on the course earlier this year. She said as well as being available for the club, the defibrillator could be a valuable asset for the wider community, including local hotels.

She said: "Installing a defibrillator provides the best possible help in the event of an emergency.  An ambulance can be here within a few minutes but when every second counts this piece of equipment could be invaluable.

"We hope we never have to use it, but it's reassuring to know it's there if needed. Like all other golf clubs, we have an ageing membership and having a defibrillator ready for an emergency response is something we feel is good practice."

Dr Baker added: "Early basic resuscitation can save lives and if this is combined with prompt defibrillation the results are improved. Should there be a sudden collapse, knowing what to do and having the equipment to hand is important."  

The move was welcomed by Hamish Grey, chief executive of the Scottish Golf Union. He said: "The action of Nairn Golf Club to provide a defibrillator and make this available to the wider community should it ever be needed is to be commended.  It demonstrates how golf clubs are central to their local community and a vital resource.

"This is a pattern repeated in many different ways throughout the length and breadth of Scotland."

Fraser Cromarty, Castle Stuart Golf Links' sales and marketing director and chairman of Highland Golf Links, said defibrillators can provide vital first aid in an emergency.

"Nairn's initiative enhances the health and safety provision for the club's members and it is something we at Castle Stuart are actively looking at. Defibrillators could be invaluable in an emergency of this nature, but everyone would be delighted if they never have to be used."

Neil Hampton, general manager at Royal Dornoch Golf Club, added: "Royal Dornoch work closely with the local medical services and at their suggestion purchased a defibrillator in 2011.

"With annual training and refresher courses from the resident GPs all staff at Royal Dornoch feel confident in dealing with cardiac situations until the professional medical teams arrive."

HGL also includes the Kingsmills Hotel and Culloden House Hotel, Inverness; the Royal Golf Hotel and Links House, at Royal Dornoch; and the Golf View Hotel in Nairn.








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