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Help increase access to lifesaving heart defibrillators locally

31 May 2024

Local community groups and organisations can apply for a defibrillator with help from available funding schemes, to ensure they are readily available to our residents when it matters most.

Did you know that in 2023 more than 4,200 cardiac arrests happened out of hospital in London? It is a medical emergency when someone’s heart stops beating, and every second matters.

According to the UK Resuscitation Council and British Heart Foundation (BHF), fewer than 1 in 10 people survive cardiac arrest outside of hospital, and a big contributor to this is not being able to provide defibrillation within a critical time period.

A defibrillator is an easy-to-use, portable device that guides cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), assesses heart rhythms and can deliver a controlled electric shock to the chest safely. It tries to get the heart to beat normally again when someone has had a cardiac arrest, which can be hugely important while you wait for emergency services to arrive.

If a defibrillator is used within three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival increases from 6% up to 50 to 70%.

Half of cardiac arrests that happen outside a hospital are witnessed by a bystander. This is why having 24/7 public access defibrillators in as many community settings as possible is still so important. The British Heart Foundation advises that a defibrillator should be within 200 metres of a community space, or a brisk, four-minute walk roundtrip. While these already exist in some high-traffic places more are needed in our community spaces to achieve the recommended coverage. Find out about your nearest defibrillator.

Director of Public Health Shannon Katiyo said:

“This initiative aims to increase the availability of defibrillators, and this is welcome. Improving your heart health is one of the best ways to lower the risk of developing coronary heart disease and this reduces the risk of a cardiac arrest. You can improve heart health by eating a healthy balanced diet, being physically active, keeping a healthy weight, and stopping smoking.”

Defibrillator funding schemes

Local community groups and organisations can help to guarantee the availability of lifesaving defibrillators in their area by applying to have one installed.

Funding support for installation costs is available through the following schemes:

  • London Hearts, the leading UK heart defibrillator charity, offers applications for partial grant funding. They also provide free CPR and defibrillator awareness training with every defibrillator they supply. Get in touch with London Hearts about starting your defibrillator project. You can contact them by emailing or calling 02070432493.
  • Applications for defibrillator match funding are also open to public spaces across England where they are most needed.

If you are applying to have a defibrillator installed in your area, please contact us at to let us know where. This will help us to stay up to date on provision across the borough and where further need still exists.

Support for residents

Many instances of cardiac arrest happen because of an underlying heart condition. Residents aged 40 and over can help to reduce their risk by going for a free NHS Health Check every five years at a local pharmacy or GP surgery.

While public defibrillators are very easy to use, The London Ambulance Service also provides defibrillator training for communities and organisations who would like the extra support, through their London Lifesavers campaign.

Find out more about getting a defibrillator for your community (BHF)

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Up to: May 2024

Updated: 4 June 2024

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