More than 30,000 cardiac arrests happen outside of hospitals each year in the UK but fewer than one in 10 people survive. Defibs deliver electric shocks to restore a normal heartbeat. But those in public and private settings – such as shopping centres, offices and open spaces – are used in less than 10 percent of cases. Charities and health chiefs are now calling for people who own or look after one of the machines to register it on a pioneering database called The Circuit.
Dr Charmaine Griffiths, British Heart Foundation chief executive, said: “Knowing where the nearest defibrillator is could be the difference between life and death.
“The Circuit will help emergency services direct bystanders more quickly.”
The national network will eventually replace the regional databases used by ambulance services to direct 999 callers to the nearest device.
It is already live in 12 out of the 14 ambulance regions across the UK.
But tens of thousands of defibrillators are not yet registered.
The Circuit is led by the British Heart Foundation, Resuscitation Council UK, St John Ambulance and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.
They hope to register at least 70,000 more devices this year.
Professor Stephen Powis, national medical director for NHS England, backed the call and said the health service wanted to triple the number of people who survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
He added: “Properly registering the details of defibrillators is vital.”
- To find out more or register a defibrillator visit thecircuit.uk