Sir Gavin Williamson has shown support for the Staffordshire charity AED donate, meeting with the founder, Jamie Richards, to discuss what he can do to push for the expansion of their life-saving work. He’s also called for the government to re-assess its current contract with certain defibrillator companies that don’t register all their defibrillators with the emergency services.
AED donate works with local communities to help them fundraise and purchase defibrillators, then assists by advising where they should be placed, setting them up, and registering them with the local ambulance service. Sir Gavin was thoroughly impressed by the progress of Jamie and his team. They’ve managed to increase the average availability of defibrillators from 67% to 97.9%, and have promised that after use, the defibrillator can be serviced and up-and-running again within 4 hours.
Sir Gavin was keen to stress the relevance of this work for his constituents and those in the wider area. It’s a sobering thought that 3,600 heart attacks a year in the West Midlands occur outside of hospitals, so the work of Jamie and his team has the potential to significantly reduce cardiac-attack related deaths. The team were keen to stress the particular virtues of their organisation, stating that current government contracts are failing to register all of their defibrillators with emergency services. This feature is critical, as it alerts the local paramedic team that the defibrillator has been used so the patient can be cared for as soon as possible. Responding to this, Sir Gavin felt it necessary to contact the Minister for Health and Social Care, to suggest a re-assessment of existing contracts.
Jamie Richards said: “As a charity we pride ourselves on the in-depth service that we provide to ensure that all people, of any ability, are comfortable enough to be able to save a life if they should need to. The charity’s objectives over the next three years are to continue to put defibrillators into communities nationally with the aim of placing 1,500 defibrillators per year.”
Sir Gavin said: “I really must applaud the work of Jamie and his team, who are clearly so passionate about the project that they’re pursuing. They will be a lifeline for many, especially in Staffordshire, which suffers from a lack of community defibrillators. Considering around 12,000 in South Staffordshire currently live with heart and circulatory diseases, I can’t stress enough how important it is to build our stock of emergency equipment in case the unthinkable happens. This is why I’m contacting the Minister for Health and Social Care, to see if more support can be given to charities like these, and to address current contractors who don’t properly register their equipment.”