Since Oliver King’s death in a Liverpool school in March 2011 – we have worked in every way possible to ensure that we save as many lives moving forward.
Oliver was just 12 when he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst at a swimming lesson, and no defibrillator was available. It took an ambulance over 20 minutes to reach him.
Since then, The Oliver King Foundation has placed over 2000 defibrillators in schools and organisations across the UK. Every school in Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton & Wirral have a lifesaving defib, after working closely with local authorities.
Every single day in the UK, 82 people suffer a cardiac arrest, less than one in ten will survive. Every year that is 30,000 cardiac arrests. Chances of survival varies across the country, ranging from 2%-12% but reaches up to 75% with early access to a defibrillator. Every minute without access to a lifesaving defibrillator reduces chances of survival by 10%.
Defibrillators placed by the Foundation have saved at least 25 lives in recent years, including most recently, a 10 year old boy at a Merseyside Primary School. His cardiac arrest happened at break, teachers knew to immediately reach for the lifesaving defibrillator and jumped in to action.
Our Parliamentary campaign began in January 2012, we launched an e-petition calling on Government to take action on this subject. 110,000 signatures later, our relationship with Government improved. Anna Soubry visited Liverpool as Public Health Minister to unveil our Community Public Access Defibrillator programme and visited the school that Oliver attended. We worked with Lord Nash, Schools Minister, to introduce guidance to every school in the Country that they should have a defibrillator. This guidance went live in September 2014.
More recently, we launched our Lifesaving Defibrillator Champion scheme. Signing up Members of Parliament right across the Country. With a clear aim – promote this cause to their local schools, ensure that schools know about the Department for Education guidance, and become aware of Oliver’s story – and that schools see that their local MP is campaigning on this important work.
We are delighted that since then, 225 Members of Parliament have attended our drop-in events and signed up to the campaign. This has included MPs from across across the country and the political spectrum including:
- Over 100 Conservative MPs, including Boris Johnson, Penny Mordaunt, Tracey Crouch and Anna Soubry
- Over 100 Opposition MPs including John McDonnell, Angela Rayner, Hilary Benn, Nigel Dodd and Vince Cable
As a result of the Defibrillator Champion scheme we have:
- Had draft legislation written and published by a backbench MP after signing up as a Defib Champion (Maria Caulfield MP, 10 minute rule bill)
- A House of Commons debate on Oliver’s story and the importance of introducing Defibrillator legislation (Maria Eagle MP)
- A House of Lords debate on introducing Defib legislation (Lord Storey)
- Oral question from Anna Soubry MP to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in the House of Commons, highlighting that she has written to all local schools in her area and asking for the Department of Health to take up this “excellent project”
- Oral question from Stephen Lloyd MP to Education Secretary Damian Hinds in the House of Commons, asking the Government to commit to supporting a Defibrillator in every school
- Dame Rosie Winterton wrote to Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn after becoming a defibrillator champion and visiting a Doncaster school with us, we had previously met Jeremy who highlighted the lives saved and called the Foundation “an inspirational organisation”
- Began working with a number of Local Education Authorities to encourage all local schools, following the interventions of Iain Duncan Smith MP, Priti Patel MP and Ben Bradley MP amongst others
There is still much more work to do, but while the Foundation works towards achieving lifesaving legislation, our efforts with local MPs as Defibrillator Champions should promote the cause right across the UK – reaching every single school.