Study of 17,812 lifesaving devices reveals shocking inequality between rich and poor as Mirror campaigns for new law making automated external defibrillators (AEDs) a legal requirement in all public places
Image: PA Yarns / PA Images)
Residents of the wealthiest neighborhoods in England have access to three times as many defibrillators as those in the poorest neighborhoods.
The shocking inequality between rich and poor was revealed by a study of 17,812 devices registered with ambulance trusts across England.
The figures also show that England is far behind the rest of Britain in terms of the supply of defibrillators.
Scotland has more than twice as many devices per person, while Wales has almost six times as many.
The Mirror is campaigning for a new law to be passed making Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) a legal requirement in all public places.
We call on the government to support MP Jim Shannon’s bill on public access to automatic external defibrillators when it receives its second reading on December 10.
A spokesperson for leading defibshop supplier AED said: “In order to protect all of our futures, we need the full support of the UK government to reduce the number of deaths from cardiac arrests outside of hospital.
“With legislation, guidance, education and the means to save lives, we can work together to make it happen.
“Public access to defibrillators is essential to increase the survival rate. “
Details of Britain’s defibrillator postcode lottery have come to light through Freedom of Information requests sent to 13 ambulance service trusts.
Responses showed that as of August of this year, a total of 27,150 defibrillators had been registered with emergency services.
It is estimated that there are as many as 70,000 unregistered devices across the country, but 999 call managers can only direct members of the public to AEDs that have been registered.
Details of the location of each device were published on Thursday in the Heart Coverage Report, which was compiled by the leading defibshop provider.
The Mirror linked this data directly to the Office for National Statistics income deprivation figures.
England’s 50 richest regions averaged AED 70.04 per 100,000 inhabitants.
However, people living in the 50 most disadvantaged areas had on average only 20.92 defibrillators.
The data also revealed disturbing regional variations in the number of defibrillators available to 999 call managers.
England averages 31 AEDs, while Scotland has 68 and Wales has 177.
Figures only apply to publicly available defibrillators.
Cardiff City FC doctor Professor Len Nokes has lost his 25-year-old daughter Claire to sudden cardiac arrest.
Since his death, he has dedicated his career to raising awareness about CPR and defibrillators and chairing the Save a Life Cymru campaign.
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He said: “I am very proud that Wales has so many defibrillators, but we are not going to sit on our laurels.
“There is still more to do. The location of defibrillators is critical and people need to know where they are.
The cardiac arrest suffered by Christian Eriksen during the Euro brought the issue of defibrillators back to the fore.
Days later, the Mirror demanded that defibrillators become a legal requirement in all public places, including schools, sports fields and public buildings.
France, which already has 46,000 registered AEDs, recently passed a law making defibrillators compulsory in almost all public places.
Activist Bruno Thomas-Lamotte told the Mirror: “It is now an obligation to have defibrillators, that’s perfect.
“In 2008 the survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests was less than three percent, it is now seven percent.
“We hope the new law will bring it to 10 or 15 percent.”
Many defibrillators installed by community groups or businesses are not registered with ambulance services.
The British Heart Foundation wants these “AED keepers” to register their devices on The Circuit, a national defibrillator network.
Judy O’Sullivan, BHF, said: “We believe there are currently tens of thousands of unregistered defibrillators across the UK which means they are invisible to ambulance services.
“It only takes 10 minutes for defibrillator owners or custodians to register their device online at The Circuit and 60 seconds later the data will be available in the local ambulance service’s live control room.
“To put it simply, knowing where the nearest defibrillator is could mean the difference between life and death for someone.”
Anyone wishing to register their defibrillator should go to: thecircuit.uk ends.