The public will have faster access to life-saving defibrillators as the government announces a new £1 million fund to increase the number of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in communities most in need – providing an estimated 1,000 new defibrillators in community spaces across England.
The Department of Health and Social Care will invest the funding through an independent partner who will manage grant applications from bidding organisations. Those selected will be asked to match the funding they receive fully or partially, potentially doubling the number of new defibrillators created by the fund.
Applicants will also 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.
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.
The independent partner managing the fund will be announced in due course and will work with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that new defibrillators in the community are accessible on a 24/7 basis and are equally accessible across England to all social groups.
The funding is part of the government’s commitment to support the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and improving access to emergency treatment across England.
Organisations and individuals that acquire defibrillators, or already own them, are urged to register them on The Circuit, a national defibrillator database for ambulance services to quickly identify the nearest device.