politics

MPs urged to make defibs compulsory in schools with 25 already at Westminster


MPs and Lords are being urged to vote for a new defibrillator law after it emerged 25 of the lifesaving devices have been installed at Westminster.

A Freedom of Information request by the Mirror has revealed the Parliamentary Estate is one of the safest places in Britain to suffer a cardiac arrest.

The 650 MPs and 792 Lords enjoy the equivalent of one defibrillator for every 58 members after an extra seven were installed since 2015.

But elsewhere in Britain it is believed the figure is closer to just one device for every 660 people.

Mark King, whose son Oliver, 12, died during a school swimming class, has campaigned for a decade for defibrillators to be made a legal requirement in schools.

He said: “It is galling when I hear MPs have increased the number of defibrillators on the Parliamentary Estate when they won’t do the same for our schools.

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Oliver King in his Liverpool Schoolboys Under 10s kit
Oliver King in his Liverpool Schoolboys Under 10s kit

“My son would still be here if there was a defibrillator available for him and every week we’re losing more youngsters to sudden cardiac arrest.

“It can’t be one rule for them and one rule for our children.”

Overall, there are 10,000 workers and visitors each day at the Houses of Parliament, meaning there is one defibrillator for every 400 people.

A Parliamentary spokeswoman said: “Defibrillators are installed across the estate to ensure the health and safety of all those who work on or visit the site.”

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On June 15, the Mirror launched a campaign for defibrillators to be made a legal requirement in all public places.

Days earlier footballer Christian Eriksen survived a cardiac arrest at the Euros when one of the devices was used on him.

The Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill will receive its second reading on September 10. Mr King, who lost Oliver in 2011, is calling for MPs to back the new law.

He added: “I don’t want any parent to go through what my family experienced in needlessly losing a child. MPs have the chance to make a difference by backing a change in the law.”

The number of defibrillators in the UK is unknown but experts believe there are 100,000 for its population of 66 million.

It is understood half of the devices have been registered with ambulance trusts and the British Heart Foundation.

In 2015, Conservative MP Sir Paul Beresford revealed there were 18 defibrillators in the Parliamentary Estate.

In a FOI response this week, the Commons said there are now 25 of the devices in use.

It said since January the majority of defibrillators are checked weekly by Parliamentary staff and examined once a year by an external medical engineer.





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