ALL new schools are to be equipped with life-saving defibrillators to cut the number of child heart deaths.
The move, supported by Education Secretary Michael Gove, will be announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget later this month.
More than 270 pupils die after suffering heart attacks at school every year but, according to charity SADS, only 80 of 30,000 schools have automated external defibrillators, which cost £1,500.
Sick youngsters given an electric shock to the heart with the life-saving devices are 50 per cent more likely to survive a coronary than those who have to wait for an ambulance. The odds in rural areas are 75 per cent.
The initiative is being spearheaded by Conservative MP Andrew Percy, a trained first responder who has helped raise funds to buy defibrillators for six schools in his Brigg and Goole constituency. It is backed by the British Heart Foundation, Red Cross, St John Ambulance and Oliver King Foundation.
Mr Percy told the Sunday Express: “It is a national scandal that children are dying unnecessarily in this country because there are not enough public access defibrillators. A relatively small one-off investment could have a lasting legacy, which is why for me it is a complete no-brainer.”
Oliver King was just 12 when he died of a cardiac arrest while taking part in a school swimming race in 2011.
A year after Oliver’s death his family set up the Oliver King Foundation, which wants to see defibrillators installed in all schools, sports centres and other public buildings.
Oliver’s father, Mark, said: “We are losing children who are fit and healthy every week to cardiac arrests.
“When my own son died we waited more than 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive and it was a seven-minute journey to hospital. I know that had there been a defibrillator on site, he would be here today.
“My question to the Government is why is there a postcode lottery with children’s lives with there being defibrillators at some schools and not others?”
See on www.express.co.uk