Scheme to fund public defibrillators goes live

Pic:Katatonia/Pond5
Pic:Katatonia/Pond5

The British Heart Foundation has just launched a scheme to role out a nationwide network of life saving heart defibrillators thanks in part to the campaigning efforts of a local couple.

There are more than 30,000 cardiac arrests in the UK every year and while currently only one in ten cases survive, the BHF say the chances of survival are doubled if prompt CPR or defibrillation is applied.

Public access defibrillators are automated and need no prior specialist knowledge or training to use.

The Chancellor George Osborne announced he had set aside £1 million to fund the devices in his March budget after he met local campaigners Graham and Anne Hunter while on a visit to Botley earlier this year.

The Hunters, whose story has previously been featured on Eastleigh News, told the Chancellor how their 22 year-old daughter Claire died suddenly after her heart stopped while staying at a spa hotel.

The couple believe that if a defibrillator had been on site she might have been saved.

Shortly after the budget George Osborne told Eastleigh News he had been touched by the Hunter’s story and had them in mind when he decided to set public money aside.

The £1 million will be made available to community organisations that would benefit from public access defibrillators and CPR training and means there will be 580 more units in public places.

Organisations eligible to apply for the cash include charities, social enterprises, community groups and commercial organisations working in partnership the NHS Ambulance Service.

Graham Hunter said:

“Nothing can prepare you for losing a child but knowing that a simple piece of lifesaving equipment could have made all the difference, makes it even harder to come to terms with.

“When Claire died we made it our mission to ensure that more defibrillators are made available in public places and thankfully, this announcement means we are one step closer to making that happen. There is no question that this funding will help save lives and will prevent other families going through what we are going through.”

Organisations can check if they are eligible, and apply for the free community package including up to five public access defibrillators and a Call Push Rescue training kit by visiting: bhf.org.uk/defibsdh

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