Life-saving devices will be increased by at least 1,000 following £1m government funding boost
The use of defibrillators can significantly increase a person's chance of survival following an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
Members of the public will have faster access to life-saving defibrillators as the Government announces a new £1m fund to increase the number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in communities.
The Department of Health and Social Care will invest the funding through an independent partner who will manage grant applications from bidding organisations.
And those selected will be asked to match the funding they receive fully or partially, potentially doubling the number of new defibrillators created by the fund.
Applicants will also be asked to demonstrate that defibrillators will be placed in areas where they are most needed, such as places with high footfall, vulnerable people, rural areas, or due to the nature of activity at the site.
Examples could include town halls, community centres, local shops, post offices, and local parks, ensuring that defibrillators are evenly spread throughout communities and easily accessible if someone is experiencing an unexpected cardiac arrest.
The independent partner managing the fund will be announced in the coming weeks and will work with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure they are accessible on a 24/7 basis and are equally accessible across England to all social groups.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, said: “I’ve heard extraordinary stories of ordinary people being kept alive thanks to the swift use of a defibrillator on the football pitch, at the gym, or in their local community.
“We must make sure these life-saving devices are more accessible, with our new £1m fund expected to place around 1,000 new defibrillators in communities across England.”
Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, added: “We want people to have the best chance of survival from cardiac arrest, and public access to defibrillators is critical to achieving this.
“This fund will help us make sure there are more of these incredible devices in our communities and we save more lives.”
And Dr Charmaine Griffiths, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “For every minute without CPR or defibrillation, a person’s chances of survival from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest decreases by 10%, so we welcome this move to improve access to defibrillators in communities across England.
“We urge anyone who looks after a defibrillator in their community, workplace, or sports club to ensure that it is registered on The Circuit so that the ambulance services will know where it is in an emergency.”
The funding is part of the Government’s commitment to supporting the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and improving access to emergency treatment across England.
Organisations and individuals that acquire defibrillators, or already own them, are urged to register them on The Circuit, a national database for ambulance services to quickly identify the nearest device.