'Lives at risk' after borough town is identified as a defibrillator black spot

A new British Heart Foundation scheme is urging community groups in a Wigan township to apply for free defibrillators after it was identified as being a “defib black spot”.
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This means Atherton is one of the places in the country with low access to the life-saving equipment, as well as having areas of high deprivation.

The scheme is targeting 10 areas in the UK in the hope that increasing the numbers of defibrillators will help increase survival rates for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

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The British Heart Foundation says there is a worrying lack of defibrillators in AthertonThe British Heart Foundation says there is a worrying lack of defibrillators in Atherton
The British Heart Foundation says there is a worrying lack of defibrillators in Atherton
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There are an average of 4.3 defibrillators per 10,000 people in Atherton registered on The Circuit: the national defibrillator network – significantly below the UK average in urban areas of 89 defibrillators per 10,000 people.

This also means that in Atherton you are on average a 13-minute round trip walk away from the closest defib, using available roads and footpaths.

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK, but less than one in 10 people survives.

In the North West of England there are around 3,900 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year, with a survival rate of just one in 15.

Atherton was chosen as a target for the new Community Defibrillator Fund scheme as it has been identified as having high levels of deprivation but also limited access to defibrillators.

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There are more than 79,000 defibrillators registered on The Circuit, but these are not evenly distributed.

Recent research supported by the BHF found that people living in the most deprived areas of England are on average 99m further away from their nearest 24/7 defibrillator than those in the least deprived areas.

The charity fears that defibrillator black spots like Atherton putting lives at risk.

There are 220 defibrillator packages available immediately to communities across the country as part of the charity’s Community Defibrillator Fund, supported by fund-raising from BHF’s charity partner Royal Mail.

In total, Royal Mail ia aiming to fund 420 defibrillators across four years.

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

BHF 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.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Every defibrillator has the power to save a life and 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 have access to a defibrillator that can save lives.”

Communities are invited to apply for their free defibrillator on the BHF website: https://www.bhf.org.uk/defibfunding