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Lives lost to shortage of vital heart restarters

Public access defibrillators provide an electric shock to restart the heart, but are used in less than 10 percent of emergencies. Meanwhile, global supply issues mean that there are currently long waits for new devices or their replacement parts.

MPs are now launching an all-party parliamentary group (APPG) to investigate and find solutions.

Conservative MP Jonathan Gullis, who will chair the body, said: “It is truly sad that in our society today so many people are still dying from sudden cardiac arrest.

“The shortage of defibrillators across the UK is a serious concern and not helping to prevent people unnecessarily and tragically losing their lives.

Lifeline…in a phone “We plan to launch an APPG to highlight the importance of improving survival rates from cardiac arrest and resolving the UK’s external defibrillator shortage.”

Mr Gullis added: “I look forward to personally championing this mission and working with colleagues and key industry players to implement change.”

An estimated 100,000 defibrillators in the UK are being mapped to ensure 999 call handlers can direct people to their nearest device.

The Government has committed to putting them in all England’s state schools by the end of the 2022/23 academic year.

The all-party group is being supported by Australian firm Rapid Response Revival, which manufactures an at-home personal defibrillator.

It says that its devices do not rely on the components limiting supplies of conventional devices.

The company is offering to supply up to 200,000 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to the UK next year.

James Cant, of healthcare charity Resuscitation Council UK, said: “We are aware of nationwide shortages of defibrillator stocks, including replacement pads and batteries.

device box “But even expired pads could help save a life in an emergency, so don’t remove your defibrillator when they become out of date.

“We welcome the formation of an APPG to investigate defibrillator supply problems.”

Defibrillator saved me at work, aged 17

Benjamin Culff suffered a sudden cardiac arrest aged 17 while working as a waiter.

Luckily his colleagues fetched a nearby defibrillator and saved his life.

Benjamin, right, said: “Thanks to the quick action of my courageous colleagues and the fact that there was an onsite defibrillator in my workplace, I was given a second chance.

“My story is a testament to the fact that sudden cardiac arrest really can strike anyone, anywhere at any time. It’s critical there is good provision of defibrillators across the country if victims are to stand a chance of survival.”

Benjamin, now 23, of Tamworth, added: “I’m hopeful we will see defibrillators mandatory in settings such as schools to help improve the chances of other young people.”

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