The Oliver King Foundation, the leading charity fighting for lifesaving defibrillator legislation in Parliament has secured the support of over 180 Members of Parliament within the last 6 months.
Our project aimed at recruiting MPs as Lifesaving Defibrillator Champions was launched on European Restart a Heart Day in October 2016 in the Houses of Parliament.
To become a Defibrillator Champion, MPs must pledge to raise awareness of lifesaving defibrillators in their own constituencies, speaking to schools and media about the issue of sudden cardiac arrest and the vital need for CPR and early defibrillation.
This ambitious project aimed to receive the backing of 100 Members of Parliament across the UK, and has exceeded expectations of the team.
Every single week in the UK, 82 people suffer a sudden cardiac arrest out of hospital, whilst only 8 survive. 12 young people die from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, the same condition that killed Oliver, every single week.
Since the launch of Defibrillator Champions in October, the Foundation have also had two debates in the House of Commons, one in the House of Lords, a bill of legislation tabled and meetings with four Government Ministers.
Mark King, father of 12-year-old Oliver King said: “It is important we forge links and friendships with MPs in Westminster. I have shared our experiences about my son Oliver and had many conversations with MPs about their own children and the importance of keeping everyone safe.
“The support we have received from our Defibrillator Champions has been fantastic, I didn’t think we would receive so much support. We have been up to Doncaster and down to Hampshire as a result of MPs raising awareness, and we will continue to run the campaign.”
Members of Parliament representing the Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish National Party, Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic & Labour Party and the Ulster Unionist Party have signed up – covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Jake Morrison, Chief Executive of The Oliver King Foundation said: “MPs are key members of their communities, right across the UK. With over 30,000 cardiac arrests every single year out of hospital, the importance of lifesaving defibrillators and CPR is vital.
“Through this campaign we are able to alert our key decision makers about the importance of saving lives, and how easy they actually are to use. Some MPs we have met have been unsure about the safety, due to lack of awareness. Demonstrating the automatically external defibrillators to MPs, that the machine itself will decide whether a shock is allowed or not, has given them the assurance that is needed. This shows the important role charities have to inform our lawmakers and help save lives on a national scale.”
To check if your local MP has signed up as a lifesaving Defibrillator Champion for your area visit: http://theoliverkingfoundation.co.uk/defib-champions/