New All Party Parliamentary Group for investigating and improving public access to Defibrillators

On Thursday 24 November it was confirmed that a group of MPs and peers have formed a new APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) dedicated to investigating and improving public access to Automated External Defibrillators (AED)s. 

RCUK welcomes the formation of this group and understands the APPG will soon launch an inquiry looking into the UK’s AED shortage. We hope to work closely with the group on this inquiry and future work, as part of our wider remit around CPR and defibrillation in the community. 

We are aware of present nationwide shortages of defibrillator stocks, including replacement pads and batteries. RCUK urges people to take note of the expiry date of the pads for every defibrillator they look after. We advocate not removing the defibrillator from public access on the day the pads become out of date, as the benefit of attempting defibrillation with out-of-date pads out-ways the risks of delayed defibrillation. 

We would like to see this All Party Parliamentary Group take into full consideration resuscitation in its wider forms; including but not limited to: 

  • Reducing health inequalities, by examining the mismatch between AED density and OHCA incidence across the United Kingdom. 

  • Monitoring CPR training and awareness of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in Schools now that it is on the curriculum for secondary school students across the UK. 

  • Addressing the inequitable provision of cardiac arrest rehabilitation across the United Kingdom, so that recovery does not end when the patient leaves the hospital. 

RCUK recently published a position paper that sets out why the Department for Education (DfE)’s school defibrillator rollout should request, where possible, at least one public-access device per school. We also asked the DfE to target the devices for high-risk areas first; and to encourage schools to register their Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) with local Emergency Medical Services via The Circuit