- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Mid and West Wales Assembly Member Joyce Watson is supporting a campaign to deliver life-saving equipment to every school in Wales.
At a National Assembly event on Wednesday (3rd October), the Labour AM called for defibrillators to be made compulsory in schools. “School defibrillators save lives,” she said.
Mrs Watson continued:
“Around 270 cardiac arrests occur on school premises in the UK each year. The earlier the defibrillator is deployed the better the chance of survival – put simply, defibrillators save lives. They restart the heart in emergency situations and sustain life until an ambulance arrives, and they are simple and safe to use.
“Having a defibrillator to hand can make all the difference at those crucial first minutes. This would help keep children – and staff – safe, so I’m pleased to support SADS’ work.”
The cardiac charity SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) UK launched ‘The Big Shock Campaign,’ a powerful initiative urging Governments to make this potentially lifesaving equipment mandatory in schools.
Speaking at the Assembly event, Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, told Welsh politicians how some schools had already raised money to get a defibrillator. Members of the Welsh Ambulance Service also demonstrated how simple it is to use a defibrillator.
Anne Jolly added:
“It is likely that children with undiagnosed heart conditions exist within the school population, and sadly cardiac arrest may happen at any time. The charity knows only too well the heartache of parents who contact the charity after the sudden death of a child. Applying the defibrillator as soon as possible when a person goes into cardiac arrest gives them best chance of surviving. In 2000 the Government put defibrillators into public places, but none of these were donated to schools.”
Mrs Watson has tabled a Welsh Assembly Statement of Opinion urging other Assembly Members to support making defibrillators in schools mandatory.
Notes to Editors
Sudden cardiac death in young people is caused mainly by the various types of cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle) or by disorders of the electrical conduction system of the heart that can cause arrhythmias, such as Long-QT syndrome, Brugada Syndrome or Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
Sports activities can exacerbate cardiac problems. Blunt blows to the chest, such as that of a football or rugby ball can cause Commotio cordis, resulting in cardiac arrest. Other factors besides heart disease and heart attack include Respiratory arrest, Electrocution, Choking and Trauma.
The Resuscitation Council (UK) suggests a defibrillator should be available wherever medical treatment is more than 5 minutes away. With the average response time of the Ambulance Service being 8 minutes, in practical terms this means the whole of the UK.
OPIN-2009-0108 SADS UK- Help Save Lives
This Assembly congratulates SADS UK, the cardiac charity, for providing heart monitors and defibrillators in the community to prevent sudden cardiac death;
Encourages Members to support SADS UK in their aims to place Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and training in all schools across Wales in order that pupils, staff and other personnel can receive vital emergency treatment immediately if they suffer a cardiac arrest on school premises, giving them the best possible chance of survival”.
SADS UK donates Automated External Defibrillators in the community so that if the first sign of a cardiac condition is cardiac arrest there is equipment on site to give the person their best chance of survival. It donates heart monitoring equipment to medical establishments to identify people who need treatment to prevent sudden death. The charity also supports research into SADS.
For further information about putting defibrillators into schools and ‘The Big Shock Campaign’ contact Anne Jolly on 01277 811215 email: [email protected], www.sadsuk.org