SNP urged to follow English example and fit defibrillators in all schools

Posted: 4th January 2024

UK Government installed 20,000 of life-saving apparatus in a year while 4 in 10 Scottish schools are without one

The SNP has been urged to provide state-funded schools with a defibrillator after it emerged more than 1,000 of them do not have the potentially life-saving device.

The UK Government completed a roll out of 20,000 defibrillators in the summer, meaning every state school in England has a device on site.

A defibrillator delivers an electric charge to the heart and can restore a normal heartbeat in the event of sudden cardiac arrest.

Data gathered by the Scottish Conservatives revealed that 1,062 Scottish schools – about four in ten – do not have a defibrillator.

The Tories said the true proportion was likely to be higher as six of Scotland’s 32 councils did not respond to a freedom of information request.

Liam Kerr, the shadow Scottish education secretary, accused the SNP of a “shameful neglect of Scottish schools” that was “undermining the safety of pupils”.

Westminster lead

Mr Kerr said ministers should follow Westminster’s lead and ensure every Scottish school has a defibrillator installed as soon as possible.

“It is deeply alarming that so many schools in Scotland are lacking life-saving defibrillators. This is another example of the SNP’s shameful neglect of Scottish schools – and one which risks undermining the safety of pupils.

“The SNP must urgently get a grip of this matter. If it’s a funding issue, they must stump up the money needed for councils to install defibrillators in all schools.

“We know that defibrillators greatly increase the chance of survival from cardiac arrest so the importance of these devices – especially close to school sport halls and playing fields – cannot be overemphasised.”

The UK Government completed the rollout of defibrillators in July, one year after making the pledge.

Oliver King

It followed a campaign by Mark King, whose son Oliver died after he suffered sudden cardiac arrest at school during a swimming lesson when he was 12 years old.

In October 2022, Alexander Burnett, the Tory MSP for Aberdeenshire West, called on Scottish ministers to adopt the move, arguing it would also give pupils the chance to learn life-saving skills such as CPR and the purpose of defibrillators.

That call followed the death of six-year-old Kacey Seivwright who was attending a club in Aberdeen when she took ill and passed away in August 2021. Her family raised £50,000 to allow the life-saving devices to be installed in schools in Aberdeen.

The Scottish Government said decisions on whether to install defibrillators in schools are a matter for local authorities.

“The Scottish Government is focused on ensuring defibrillators are publicly accessible, and are registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service via Circuit, the national defibrillator network. This will enable anyone witnessing a cardiac arrest to be promptly directed to the nearest publicly accessible defibrillator by the ambulance call handler.

“There are currently more than 7,000 defibrillators across Scotland registered with the Circuit. The Scottish Government is committed to improving survival rates from cardiac arrest through our involvement in the Save a Life for Scotland Partnership.”

Source: SNP urged to follow English example and fit every school with a defibrillator (

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