Since the Department’s Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy was published in 2013, which highlighted the lives that could be saved by better cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training and availability of Public Access Defibrillators (PAD), the Community Resuscitation Steering Group chaired by NHS England has highlighted various issues and taken steps to try to improve them. These include:
- in order to further support the National Health Service and local communities, the Government provided £2 million to make PADs more widely available and to increase the number of people trained in CPR. The Government provided £1 million in the 2015 Budget to increase the availability and accessibility of PADs and numbers trained in CPR; this led to 700 more PADs in communities across England; and
- in the March 2016 Budget, a further £1 million was made available to make PADs and CPR more widely available in communities across England.
Beyond the recent central funding initiatives, since the end of the Department’s National Defibrillator Programme in 2007 PADs are also funded privately or by charities. Local ambulance trusts are thought to be best placed to know what is needed in their local area, and often offer advice to charities and the public on the operation and placement of PADs.
The Government recognises that better provision of defibrillators and increasing the number of people trained in CPR could help save more lives of those who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting. We therefore encourage organisations to consider purchasing a defibrillator as part of their first-aid equipment, particularly for places where there are high concentrations of people.