Documents to download


A cardiac arrest takes place when a person’s heart stops beating and is unable to pump blood around the body. It is a medical emergency which will result in death without prompt medical intervention.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) mimics the pumping mechanism of the heart and maintains blood flow to vital organs. Defibrillators deliver a jolt of energy to the heart to help restore its rhythm and get it beating normally again. For every minute that a person is in cardiac arrest without receiving CPR and defibrillation, their chance of survival decreases by 10%.

Improving access to public access defibrillators

Public access defibrillators (PADs) are defibrillators which are placed in strategic locations to increase the likelihood of one being in the proximity of a person experiencing cardiac arrest. Specifically, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are used for this purpose because they can be administered by an untrained individual by simply following the instructions.

There is no official, centralised database which records the number of defibrillators and their locations, but some organisations have launched their own maps such as the British Heart Foundation’s The Circuit.

The UK Government has said it is considering ways it can improve access to PADs and has encouraged organisations in England to consider purchasing them as first-aid equipment, particularly in places where there are high concentrations of people.

The Northern Ireland Executive has partnered with the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland, and the Northern Ireland Ambulance service to facilitate the installation of 134 PADs at over 80 public locations.

The Scottish Government’s Out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA): strategy 2021 to 2026 aims to increase the rate of bystander CPR intervention and ensure the optimal and accessible placement of PADs.

There is currently no legal requirement for organisations to make AEDs available on their premises, although many have chosen to do so.

Several MPs have attempted to introduce Private Members’ Bills which would make it a requirement for specified premises to provide defibrillators in England. None, to date, have successfully completed their Parliamentary stages.

Funding for public access defibrillators

Some organisations may qualify for funding to install a defibrillator, provided by private sponsors such as the British Heart Foundation, the Premier League Defibrillator Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund.

The UK Government has committed to funding a defibrillator in every state funded school in England. In December 2022, the UK Government announced £1 million funding to provide an estimated 1,000 PADs across communities in England.

Between 2021 and 2022, the Welsh Government provided £1 million funding for the purchase of 1,000 PADs.

Documents to download

Related posts