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We need better access to defibrillators, not more devices - Hiqa

The proposed defibrillator plan could save fifty lives over five years, at a cost of €105 million.
Dec 1st 2014, 3:30 PM 9,156 10

THE HEALTH INFORMATION and Quality Authority has rejected the Government’s plan for more public access defibrillators and called for better use of the devices already available.

Last year Hiqa was asked by then Health Minister James Reilly to look into the issue in order to inform decision making on the Public Health (Availability of Defibrillators) Bill 2013.

The Bill proposes the mandatory provision of static automated external defibrillators in a comprehensive list of designated places around the country.

HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment Dr Máirín Ryan said, depending on the number of building types included, the proposed legislation would involve the provision of between 2,000 and 38,000 additional defibrillators

He said it would save between two and ten additional lives annually, at a total cost of between €5.3 million and €105 million over the first five years.

The report also calls for a registry identifying locations of all existing automated external defibrillators (AEDs) throughout the country to be set up. There are currently between 8,000 and 10,000 defibrillators available in Ireland.

defibrillators Source: Hiqa

“Based on current data, none of the public access defibrillation programmes that we assessed would be considered cost-effective using conventional willingness to pay thresholds, Ryan said.

Targeted placing of defibrillators in higher incidence locations and a national defibrillator register linked to emergency medical services, together with significantly increased use of defibrillators via heightened public awareness, could render public access defibrillation programmes more cost-effective.

“Any prospective programme should start by targeting the mandatory deployment of defibrillators at locations with the highest incidence of out-of-hospital-cardiac-arrest,” Ryan stated.

HeartSine, a defibrillator manufacturer, welcomed the news.

The company said Hiqa’s report “could be a significant turning point in the campaign to reduce the unacceptably high number of deaths that occur from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in Ireland”.

CEO Declan O’Mahoney said SCA kills 5000 people in Ireland every year.

“When a person suffers an SCA, there is a critical three to five minute window in which CPR and an AED must be used to optimise the chance of survival. After ten minutes, the chance of survival is almost zero. The median response time of emergency services in Ireland is 11 minutes so having a mobile defibrillator to hand is quite literally the difference between life and death for those unlucky enough to be in such a scenario,” O’Mahoney said.

“A targeted national public access defibrillator programme is the key to reducing the unacceptably high numbers of untimely deaths from SCA here every year,” he added.

The public could become life savers under a new plan to fight cardiac arrests

Study to look at feasability of defibrillators in public places 

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