The Government confirmed today (July 25, 2023) that all state-funded schools in the UK now have life-saving defibrillators, significantly increasing the chances of surviving cardiac arrest for all UK public school pupils.
Following a £19 million government rollout, more than 20,000 defibrillators have been successfully delivered to nearly 18,000 schools since January.
In June, the Ministry of Education oversaw the successful completion of the delivery of defibrillators to high schools. Now, all of the elementary schools, special schools, and eligible replacement schools that don’t yet have defibrillators have shipped, increasing their numbers in communities across the country.
Today’s milestone marks another step in the government’s commitment to deliver stronger, safer communities across the country.
In July 2022, the government pledged to make these devices available before the end of the 2022 to 2023 school year to ensure that all state-funded schools in the UK can use defibrillators, following a campaign by Mark King of the Oliver King Foundation to ensure all schools have defibrillators. Mark tragically lost his son Oliver after he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at school during a swim lesson when he was 12 years old.
Education Minister Gillian Keegan said:
Access to defibrillators in schools greatly increases the chances of survival for students, teachers, and visitors after cardiac arrest.
Thanks to the tireless campaigning of Mark King, Jamie Carragher and Nicola Carragher, we are proud to say that every state-funded school in the UK now has a defibrillator.
Now, teachers and students across the country can rest assured that they will have access to a device on campus should tragedy strike.
The Minister of Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, said:
“Access to defibrillators in schools greatly increases the chances of survival for students, teachers and visitors after cardiac arrest.
Thanks to the tireless campaigning of Mark King and Jamie Carragher, we are proud to say that every state-funded school in the UK now has one of these potentially life-saving machines.
So however rare these events are, now teachers, parents and students across the country can rest assured that they will have access to defibrillators on school grounds, should the worst happen.
Oliver King Foundation Founder, Mark King: > We as a family and foundation will continue to strive for change so that no other family has to suffer as we do. > > We would like to thank Nadhim Zahawi, Lord Stuart Polak, Jamie Carragher and DfE for helping us move towards legislation. > > Oliver’s memory will live on and many lives will be saved!
Large schools have been provided with 2 or more defibrillators so that they can be strategically placed in areas of the school that are more likely to experience cardiac arrest, such as sports arenas.
A defibrillator is a machine that is placed outside the body and is used to give an electric shock when a person is in cardiac arrest, that is, when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. Timely defibrillation can save a person’s life.
The government is also supporting schools to provide defibrillators to the community, with 1,200 external defibrillators being made available to primary and special schools by the end of 2023 in deprived areas where supplies are often lower.
The rollout will build on existing requirements for schools to teach first aid as part of the curriculum, with high school students being taught lifesaving methods such as CPR and the purpose of defibrillators. This rollout will help protect schools and their local communities from cardiac arrest, providing broader access to these devices.