Life-saving school move is welcomed

By Connie Osborne Friday 20 June 2014 Updated: 20/06 09:47

A CAMPAIGNING father has welcomed a move to allow schools to buy life-saving equipment at a reduced price.

But Robert Underwood, who co-founded Redditch Heart Safe which installs defibrillators in public places, said it was something that should have been introduced years ago.

The Department for Education has announced schools will now be able to purchase the equipment at a cheaper rate in time for the start of the new school year.

The machine gives the heart an electric shock when someone goes into cardiac arrest and normally cost around £1,000.

But the Government is currently working to identify a supplier which will offer them at a discount price.

New statutory guidance and advice for pupils with medical conditions has also been published including recommending schools should consider purchasing defibrillators as part of their first aid equipment.

Mr Underwood said: “It’s welcome the Government has now recognised the importance of getting these defibrillators into schools to help save lives.

“But I think this should have been done years ago. We know this has been going on in our schools for quite a few years but nothing has been done.”

He added it still needed to be made law that all schools have the equipment on site.

“Sometimes you do not know, these things go undiagnosed,” he said.

“I’m hoping schools won’t ignore this. Over the last three years we have raised almost £50,000 and if we can do it anyone can and it’s a lot easier for schools.

“But more schools are approaching us asking for one and getting on board and we really appreciate them for doing that.”

He added he was happy to set up a meeting with headteachers if they had any concerns about having one.

Emma Wilkins, head of community response for West Midlands Ambulance Service, also welcomed the announcement.

“We know from the work we do every day just how important such machines can be in saving lives. It would be great if every school in the region had a look at the scheme. Having a defibrillator in every school could make the difference between life or death for one of their pupils.”

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