Maria Caulfield MP: Every death that is contributed to by the lack of a defibrillator is one too many

Posted On: 
19th December 2018

Government must ensure defibrillators are in every school and sports centre and that funding is in place to enable this, says Maria Caulfield MP.

In 2016 I met the then Young Mayor of Seaford, Jessica Batchelor, who told me of how a family friend had suffered a heart attack during a netball match at a sports centre.

Jessica knew that such a defibrillator could help to save her friend’s life and asked staff if they had one on site. Sadly no defibrillator was available and her family friend passed away. If the sports centre did have a defibrillator it would not have guaranteed survival but would have greatly increased the chances.

This inspired me to bring forward a Private Members’ Bill that would have ensured that every school and every sports centre would have to have a defibrillator on site in case an emergency should occur.

Sadly because of the 2017 General Election this Bill never made it into law.

Following my return to the House of Commons I have continued to hold discussions with both the Department of Health and the Department of Education on how the plans within my Bill could be implemented as this is such an important issue that could save many lives.

I am now introducing a Ten Minute Rule Motion to revive my previous Bill and am hoping that Members across the House of Commons will see the value of ensuring that every school and every sports centre in the country has a defibrillator.

As an NHS nurse I know that a sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone of any age at any time, and if it does CPR or a treatment from defibrillator is so important in increasing their chances of survival. Without early CPR and defibrillator use, only about 2.5% percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims survive. But the initiation of early CPR or defibrillator use within minutes, can raise a victim’s chance of survival to almost 80%.

An untrained person may administer CPR incorrectly, and a trained person will tire quickly. A defibrillator on be other hand can be used by almost anybody; they provide clear instruction of how to position and set up, and then do much of the work themselves. This will help improve the victim’s chance of survival until paramedics arrive on scene.

It is incredibly tragic that 12 young people a week die from a sudden cardiac arrest, and around 80% of them could survive with quick access to a defibrillator. Since I first introduced my previous Private Members’ Bill I have been contacted by many devastated and heartbroken families who have lost loved one in schools or sports centres because there was no defibrillator on site when they suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.

Every death that is contributed to by the lack of a defibrillator is one too many when this simple and inexpensive piece of equipment can so greatly help to save a life. This is why I am reintroducing my Ten Minute Rule Motion that would ensure defibrillators are in every school and sports centre and that funding is in place to enable this.