Crawley MP Henry Smith welcomes announcement of £1 million fund for community defibrillators

Henry Smith MP has welcomed the announcement that the Government is inviting community organisations to bid for funding for a defibrillator in their area; this comes on top of a roll-out to all secondary schools in England to have a defibrillator installed by the new academic year.

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The Department of Health & Social Care is inviting interested organisations to register expressions of interest for its £1 million Community Automated External Defibrillators (AED) Fund, aimed at increasing the number of AEDs in public places where they are most needed and help save lives.

The funding is part of the Government’s drive to equip the health system with the right technology to ease pressures, reduce backlogs and cut waiting lists, and to improve public access to care when they need it.

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Henry said: “Automated External Defibrillators are extremely important and can help save lives in an emergency.

Henry Smith - UK Parliament official portraits 2017Henry Smith - UK Parliament official portraits 2017
Henry Smith - UK Parliament official portraits 2017

“It’s right that the Government are ensuring wider access to these vital pieces of equipment and I hope community groups throughout Crawley will consider making an application.

“I also welcome all secondary schools across Crawley and nationally having a defibrillator installed in time for the start of term in September.”

As part of the grant award, applicants will be asked to demonstrate that defibrillators will be placed in areas where they are most needed, such as places with high footfall, vulnerable people, rural areas, or due to the nature of activity at the site.

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Examples could include town halls, community centres, local shops, post offices and local parks, to ensure that defibrillators are evenly spread throughout communities and easily accessible if someone is experiencing an unexpected cardiac arrest.

An estimated 1,000 new defibrillators are to be provided by the fund, with the potential for this to double as successful applicants will be asked to match the funding they receive partially or fully.

Organisations who submit an expression of interest will be notified once grant applications open to the Department of Health & Social Care’s £1 million Community AED Fund.

Organisations can submit an expression of interest here.

The Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, Steve Barclay, commented: “We know, through inspiring stories of ordinary people, being kept alive thanks to the swift use of a defibrillator in public, that these extraordinary devices must be accessible to all.

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“I urge any organisation that may benefit from a defibrillator – whether you’re a sports club, local theatre or community hall – to register your interest for this fund so that we can get more of this life-saving technology placed around England.”

The Minister of State for Care, Helen Whately, said: “When a friend, family member, neighbour or even a total stranger is experiencing cardiac arrest, the quick use of a defibrillator in an easy to reach place can be the lifeline that keeps them with us.

“If you run a space in your community that could benefit from one, please register your interest for our £1 million grant, and join our drive to widen the availability of this incredible technology.”

The National Medical Director for NHS England, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, commented;

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“When someone goes into cardiac arrest it’s crucial that they are given effective CPR and quick defibrillation to restart their heart.

“This new fund is a great opportunity for grassroots organisations to ensure that their community has access to lifesaving equipment in their moment of need.

“As the NHS turns 75, we will continue to adopt new technology and promote access to innovations, such as Automated External Defibrillator, which can improve care and treatment for patients and help save lives.”

The Chairman of the Local Government Association, Cllr James Jamieson, added: “Councils are working hard to install new defibrillators where they are needed the most, such as in parks and community spaces as well providing funding for local organisations to do the same.

“This new funding will help to support this vital effort, helping to potentially save the lives of thousands of people across the country.”