SCHOOLS in the county will be able to buy lifesaving medical machines at a reduced cost, education officials have said.
Education establishments in Gloucester will be able to pay a lower price for defibrillators, which are used when someone goes into cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest is estimated to lead to the deaths of around 88 children every year.
While it is yet to reach a deal with a specific manufacturer, the Department for Education (DfE) said it would be done before the autumn term.
Sharon Johnson, who is one of 12 first aiders at St Peter’s High School in Stroud Road, said: “We have got one defibrillator in the main school and one defibrillator in the sports hall. I hope we never have to use it but it is very useful to have in public places.
“Our defibrillators are there for pupils, teachers, but also visitors. Some people might be frightened to use it but they are self-explanatory and have easy instructions.”
Back in May last year, The Citizen launched a campaign to raise awareness of heart problems in the young, in conjunction with the charity CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Our aim is to support their work by screening people aged 14-35 for heart defects, raising as much money and awareness of the issue as possible.
Olympic legend Sir Steve Redgrave gave his backing to the Stop the Heartbreak campaign last month at the University of Gloucestershire which is also backing our campaign.
Schools minister Lord Nash said: “By securing defibrillators at a reduced price, schools will find it much easier to install these potentially lifesaving devices. We hope schools right across the country will take advantage of this.”
Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “A 999 call followed by immediate CPR and defibrillation are vital in saving the life of someone having a cardiac arrest, so this initiative is a welcome step towards strengthening that chain of survival. What’s key now is that we ensure that every child leaves school knowing how to perform CPR. By teaching this lifesaving skill in schools, we will equip future generations with the ability to help in an emergency, wherever it is. We want schools and education professionals to work together to prioritise teaching pupils CPR so we can help create a nation of lifesavers.”
The news comes as the DfE published updated guidance to schools on managing children with medical conditions, including information on individual healthcare plans., training and support for staff and the administration of medication.