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Defibrillators: Rural Areas

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 157632, tabled on 26 June 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that rural communities have access to defibrillators.

Answered on

2 July 2018

Since the Department’s Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy was published in 2013, which highlighted the lives that could be saved by better cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and availability of Public Access Defibrillators (PADs), the NHS England-chaired Community Resuscitation Steering Group has taken a number of steps to address relevant issues, including in relation to community defibrillator access. These steps include:

- In order to further support the National Health Service and local communities, the Government provided £1 million in the 2015 Budget to increase the availability and accessibility of PADs and the numbers of people trained in CPR; in the March 2016 Budget, a further £1 million was made available to make PADs and CPR training more widely available in communities across England;

- The Resuscitation Council (UK), the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Arrhythmia Alliance have all undertaken campaigns to increase awareness of CPR and availability of PADs;

- The BHF has committed funds to implement the establishment of a national database of PADs and make this available to ambulance services, and two ambulance services are currently involved in determining the structure and function of the database. This database will later be offered to all services once shown to be safe and effective, and a key intention is to ensure that PAD location information is readily available when someone makes a 999 call.

Local ambulance trusts are thought to be best placed to know what is needed in their local area, and often offer advice to charities and the public on the operation and placement of PADs.

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