View from the House: Join the campaign for defibrillators in all schools

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 February 2018

Iain Duncan Smith. Picture: PA

Iain Duncan Smith. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Every single year in the UK 600 die from sudden cardiac arrest. It is estimated that 270 of these deaths occur in school.

In Westminster recently, I met with The Oliver King Foundation to discuss their campaign for every school to have a lifesaving defibrillator by 2020.

The foundation was set up following the tragic death of 12-year-old Oliver King, who died from a sudden cardiac arrest whilst at school. Since Oliver’s death, the foundation has been working to increase the provision of defibrillators in schools.

As a result of their work, the Department for Education released guidance to schools recommending that they have a defibrillator on-site. The foundation has set an ambitious target to ensure every school in the UK has a lifesaving defibrillator by 2020, when Oliver would have been 21.

To achieve this goal, the foundation has recruited Members of Parliament to be “defibrillator champions” to share information about the importance of access to defibrillators with schools in our local area.

I am proud to become a lifesaving defibrillator champion for Chingford and Woodford Green and I have written to the CEOs of Redbridge and Waltham Forest councils to urge them to take part.

I would urge anyone reading the column to ask their school to contact the charity to discuss the importance of a lifesaving defibrillator.

It is vital that we take action to prevent any loss of life and many of the 19 lives saved by defibrillators placed by the foundation have been members of staff in schools.

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