Press release

Deal to provide life-saving defibrillators to schools

The Department for Education announces a plan to allow schools to purchase defibrillators at a lower cost.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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A deal to allow schools to buy defibrillator machines at a reduced price will be sealed in time for the autumn term, the Department for Education (DfE) announced today.

Sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone who may or may not be diagnosed with a cardiac condition. A defibrillator is a life-saving machine that gives the heart an electric shock and can make a difference between life and death.

The government is working to identify a supplier who will offer defibrillators - which cost around £1,000 - to all schools at a competitive price. DfE has today also published new statutory guidance and advice for schools on supporting pupils with medical conditions.

Schools Minister Lord Nash said:

There is nothing more important than keeping children safe at school. That is why this government is today publishing updated guidance to schools on managing children with medical conditions.

By securing defibrillators at a reduced price, schools will find it much easier to install these potentially life-saving devices. We hope schools right across the country will take advantage of this.

The new draft guidance follows public consultation earlier in the year and covers a range of issues, including:

  • developing a school policy for supporting pupils with medical conditions
  • the role of individual healthcare plans
  • the roles and responsibilities of those involved in supporting pupils at school
  • staff training and support
  • the administration of medicines on school premises
  • emergency procedures

Note to editors

  1. There is no formal data on the number of deaths of pupils under the age of 18 in schools, but the Department of Health estimates around 88 children per year die of sudden cardiac arrest. There is no data on how many of these occur in schools.
  2. DfE is working with the Department of Health to secure a deal with a supplier, and expect this to be completed over the summer in time for the autumn term.
  3. The ‘Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions’ guidance, which includes advice on defibrillators, will come into effect in September. It will replace current guidance issued in 2005.

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Published 30 April 2014