BHF launches free defibrillator scheme to save lives in communities across the UK

The BHF are urging communities across the UK to apply for a free lifesaving defibrillator from them, supported by fundraising from their charity partner Royal Mail. 

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There are 220 defibrillator packages available to communities as part of their Community Defibrillator Fund. 

The BHF have said that areas with greatest need will be prioritised – those with high deprivation and limited access to defibrillators. 

Communities are invited to apply for their free defibrillator on their website here: 

The BHF state on their website:
There are over 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK, but less than one in ten people survive. Every minute without CPR and defibrillation after a cardiac arrest can reduce the chance of survival by up to 10 per cent. Quick CPR and defibrillation is vital to give someone the best chance of survival.  

We want everyone to have the best chance of survival from a cardiac arrest, no matter where they live.  

There are over 79,000 defibrillators registered on The Circuit: the national defibrillator network, but they are not evenly distributed. Recent research supported by the BHF found that people living in the most deprived areas of England and Scotland are on average 99 and 317 metres further away from their nearest 24/7 defibrillator than those in the least deprived areas, respectively.

We fear that these defibrillator black spots are putting lives at risk. 

That’s why we, with support from our charity partner Royal Mail, hope the programme will help reduce these defibrillator black spots and improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.  

Local areas awarded one of these 220 defibrillators will be provided with a defibrillator and cabinet, and installation costs will be covered where required. Communities awarded a defibrillator can order future replacement parts free of charge when they expire or are used in a rescue.  

We will ensure that each defibrillator will also be registered on The Circuit: the national defibrillator network, so ambulance services can direct bystanders to the defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest.  

“Every second counts”

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, our Chief Executive, said: “Every defibrillator has the power to save a life – that’s why I’m thrilled that we’re able to fully fund 220 of these life saving devices for communities across the UK.   

“Every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest. Performing early CPR and having access to a defibrillator gives someone the best chance of survival.   

“There simply aren’t enough defibrillators where they’re needed most, as research has shown that many communities are too far away from their nearest defibrillator. These devices make where you live safer, as cardiac arrests can happen to anyone, at any time. More communities will now have access to a defibrillator that can save lives.” 

Greg Sage, Deputy Director Corporate Affairs & ESG at Royal Mail, said: “We are very proud that the fundraising efforts of our colleagues across the country are supporting this initiative to enable areas with the greatest need access to life-saving equipment. Royal Mail is supporting the scheme by aiming to fund 420 defibrillators across four years of the partnership.” 

Dr Chris Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer in Cardiology at Hull York Medical School and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist, who led the research using BHF Circuit data, said: “I’m delighted to see this programme launch that gives communities the chance to receive a free defibrillator. We recently highlighted just how far every postcode is in Great Britain from its nearest defibrillator, and how deprivation levels affect the public’s access. It’s great to see the BHF leading the way in providing defibrillators to so many communities.” 

We have a long history of funding public access defibrillators for communities: our Nation of Lifesavers scheme has helped install nearly 3,500 devices in the UK. 

We are particularly eager to receive applications from community groups in 10 areas across the UK. These areas have defibrillator black spots within them, based on available data on defibrillator locations from The Circuit: the national defibrillator network.  

They are: 

1. Atherton, a town in the borough of Wigan near Manchester (England). 
2. Birkenhead, a town on the Wirral Peninsula in Merseyside (England). 
3. Morecambe, a seaside town in Lancashire (England). 
4. Carlton, St Ann’s, Mapperley and Gedling in Nottingham area. (England). 
5. Drumchapel, a district in the north-west of the city of Glasgow (Scotland). 
6. Grangemouth, a town in the Falkirk area (Scotland). 
7. Carrickfergus, a large town 11 miles from Belfast (Northern Ireland). 
8. Derry~Londonderry, a city of 85,000 in Northern Ireland (Northern Ireland). 
9. Merthyr Tydfil, a town of over 40,000 in South Wales (Wales). 
10. Bridgend, a town in South Wales in the Cardiff Capital Region (Wales). 


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