Millions of children get access to life-saving defibrillators

By Jo Makosinski | Published: 2-Aug-2023

The Government has ensured every state school in England has a defibrillator, with 20,376 devices delivered to 17,862 schools

The Government has confirmed that all state-funded schools in England now have a life-saving defibrillator, drastically increasing the chances of surviving cardiac arrest for all pupils in England.

Following the Government’s £19m rollout, over 20,000 defibrillators have been delivered to almost 18,000 schools since January.

And, in June, the Department for Education oversaw the successful completion of deliveries of defibrillators to secondary schools.

Now, all eligible primary, special, and alternative provision schools who did not already have a defibrillator have received deliveries, boosting their numbers in communities across the country.

The milestone marks another step in the Government’s commitment to delivering stronger, safer communities across the country.

In July 2022, the Government committed to delivering these devices before the end of the 2022-2023 academic year to ensure that all state-funded schools in England had access to a defibrillator, following the campaigning from Mark King of the Oliver King Foundation.

Mark tragically lost his son, Oliver, after he suffered sudden cardiac arrest at school during a swimming lesson when he was 12-years-old.

Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, said: “Having access to defibrillators in schools drastically increases the chance of pupils, teachers, and visitors surviving a cardiac arrest.

Having access to defibrillators in schools drastically increases the chance of pupils, teachers, and visitors surviving a cardiac arrest

“Thanks to the tireless campaigning of Mark King, Jamie Carragher, and Nicola Carragher we are proud to say that every state-funded school in England now has access to a defibrillator.

“Teachers and pupils across the country can now be reassured that they will have access to one on school grounds should tragedy strikes.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, added: “We know that quick access to a defibrillator can save someone’s life if they’re having a cardiac arrest and I am proud that the Government has ensured all state schools have defibrillators, but we want to go even further.

“That’s why we’ll be inviting organisations to bid for a share of £1m of government funding to buy life-saving defibrillators for community spaces, like town halls and parks across England.”

Large schools have been provided with two or more defibrillators so they can be strategically placed in areas where a cardiac arrest is more likely, such as sports halls.

A defibrillator is a machine that is placed externally on the body and is used to give an electric shock when a person is in cardiac arrest i.e. when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.

The government is also supporting schools in making defibrillators available to the community, with 1,200 external heated defibrillator cabinets being provided to primary and special schools by the end of this year in areas of deprivation, where provision is generally lower.


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