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Defibrillators to be installed across UK with £1 million funding boost

AED unit

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the Department of Health (DH) today launched a £1 million partnership to make public access defibrillators and CPR training more widely available in communities across England.

Over 700 defibrillators were placed across the country last year, thanks to the first £1 million of government funding. The charity hopes to increase availability of defibrillators by a similar number this year. So far, the BHF has helped fund over 14,000 life saving defibrillators in towns, cities and villages across the UK.

Latest figures from the BHF show just 22% people in the UK would use a defibrillator themselves in an emergency. The charity warns this lack of awareness and confidence could be wasting valuable time and costing lives.

Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, said: “I’m delighted to be working with the British Heart Foundation for a second year. Our £1 million investment will provide hundreds of defibrillators as well as training in CPR to communities across the country.”

“I congratulate the British Heart Foundation on their tireless work in this important project. It will empower people to know what to do in an emergency and save lives.”

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, their heart stops pumping blood around their body and they will die within minutes without treatment. For every minute without defibrillation, a person’s chance of survival decreases by around 10 percent.

However, a bystander giving immediate CPR and defibrillation can double a person’s chances of survival in some cases.

There are more than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests in the UK every year. However, fewer than one in ten people survive. In places where CPR and defibrillator awareness is more widely taught, survival rates are up to three times as high. The BHF says that if UK survival rates were boosted to match those seen in parts of Norway, where up to 25% of people survive, nearly 5,000 additional lives could be saved each year.

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/defibengland

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