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Cole-Hamilton: Defribrillators in Primary Schools can save lives

February 14, 2017 11:00 AM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has described new research into cardiac arrest prevention as 'concerning' after it new research revealed that only one local authority currently has defibrillators situated in all of their primary schools.

Research by the Scottish Liberal Democrats shows that only 1 of the 26 local authorities which responded to a Freedom of Information request have defibrillators situated in all of their primary schools.

Around 3,500 people in Scotland undergo attempted resuscitation for cardiac arrest outside hospital each year, but only around five per cent survive to hospital discharge. Use of a defibrillator within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest can increase survival rates to as much as 75 per cent.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

"Our emergency services do an incredible job but getting an ambulance to someone within five minutes to administer a defibrillator can be extremely challenging. Every second counts in a life or death situation and therefore it's vitally important that such equipment is available quickly.

"Earlier in the year we revealed the availability of defibrillators in secondary schools which showed Edinburgh City Council lead the way in installing defibrillators in all of its secondary schools. Disappointingly, there is a completely different picture in Edinburgh where only one primary school out of 88 has a defibrillator installed. Other areas of the country are also seriously lagging behind revealing a concerning picture.

"These lifesaving devices should be available in schools across Scotland and we want to see councils achieve what North Ayshire has with 100% of primary schools being equipped with a defibrillator. With schools being used on evenings and weekends for community based activities, it is critical that such equipment is made available for the wider public too."