All state secondary schools in England now have a defibrillator

Posted: 26th June 2023

Source: Evening Standard

The rollout in primary and special schools is ‘well under way’ and due to be complete by the end of the summer term.

All state secondary schools in England now have access to a potentially life-saving defibrillator, the Government has announced.

Last July the Department for Education (DfE) promised the device would be fitted in every state school in England by the end of the 2022/23 academic year.

t said secondary schools were prioritised because the risk of cardiac arrest increases with age.

The rollout of the portable equipment – used to shock a person’s heart when it has stopped beating – is “well under way” in primary and special schools and due to be completed by the end of the summer term, the DfE added.

Research shows accessing a defibrillator within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest increases the chance of survival by more than 40%.

The rollout began after officials met with campaigners including Mark King, whose 12-year-old son Oliver suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while competing in a swimming race in 2011.

Mr King and former England footballer Jamie Carragher have been working together to push for mandatory defibrillators in all schools.

Since meeting Mr King, who set up the Oliver King Foundation in memory of his son, the Government has worked with charities such as the British Heart Foundation to identify the scale of need across schools in England.

The Government said it continued to meet with Mr King as the rollout progressed.

All secondary schools in England now have access to at least two defibrillators, the Government said.

This will ensure they can be placed strategically to maximise access, such as near sports facilities.

Pupils are also being taught how to use the devices during first aid lessons, with the curriculum including CPR techniques and the purpose of defibrillators.

Mr King said: “I am delighted that through years of hard work, determination and passion we have reached this monumental milestone in raising awareness and ensuring all schools have access to a life-saving defibrillator.

“With help from the Department for Education and public support Oliver’s memory lives on.

“We as a foundation will continue to strive for change so no other family has to suffer like we did.”

Schools systems minister Baroness Barran said: “We have heard of too many tragic cases where lives were lost because of a lack of access to this vital equipment at a crucial moment.

“These devices save lives and it’s been a privilege to work with the Oliver King Foundation to reach this significant milestone which will give parents, pupils and teachers confidence that they will never be far from a defibrillator in an emergency.

New guidance includes advice for schools on how to make their defibrillator available to the community, should they wish to do so.

The Government said is also encouraging schools to register their defibrillator on The Circuit, the national defibrillator network.

The rollout follows an announcement by the Department for Health and Social Care last year of a £1 million fund to boost the number of defibrillators in communities most in need and provide an estimated 1,000 new defibrillators in community spaces across England.

Categories: Education Health