I understand that the Member for Strangford brought forward the Automated External Defibrillators (Public Access) Bill Private Member's Bill and I look forward to discussing the issues as it makes its way through the Commons.
Heart or cardiovascular disease causes a quarter of all deaths in the UK and is the largest cause of premature mortality in deprived areas.
I welcome goals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) which seek to target this, including preventing up to 150,000 heart attacks, strokes over the next decade, working with partners to improve community first response and build defibrillator networks to improve survival from out of hospital cardiac arrest. The LTP sets out that a national network of community first responders and automated external defibrillators (AEDs) will help save up to 4,000 lives each year by 2028.
I know that there are partners supporting these targets and I firmly support the work they do with local paramedics, ambulance services and health representatives to raise awareness of defibrillator locations. Establishing clear and well signposted networks of defibrillators is extremely important and I would be happy to meet with local organisations to support their work and raise the profile of local defibrillators.
From May 2020, the Government has required all contractors refurbishing or building new schools through centrally delivered programmes, to provide at least one AED. Better provision of defibrillators and increasing the number of people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation could help save more lives of those who have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital setting. I therefore join the Government in encouraging organisations to consider purchasing a defibrillator as part of their first-aid equipment.