Agenda item

Motion on Notice - Defibrillators


Ruth Harrell (Director of Public Health) introduced the agenda item and highlighted;


a)     A motion on notice on defibrillators in Council-owned Public Buildings (specifically the Council House) was raised at the 30 January 2023 meeting of the City Council and was subsequently referred to the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee;

b)    The installation of defibrillators was not one organisations’ responsibility;

c)     A defibrillator could be used to give a jolt of energy to the heart which could restore its rhythm and needed to be delivered with CPR, but if used quickly could increase the chance of survival for people who suffer a cardiac arrest;

d)    Defibrillators were quick and easy to use and did not require training;

e)     The use of defibrillators was relatively low, with only around 30 cardiac arrests in Plymouth’s public spaces per year. It was impossible to know where one might be needed, but the British Heart Foundation had recommended placing them in areas with high footfall, and where the demographic was made up of people at a higher risk of cardiac arrest;

f)      The cost of a defibrillator was approximately £2,000, with relatively infrequent and low cost ongoing costs of checks as well as pad and battery replacements;

g)      Hospital Trusts across the country were building a database, called ‘The Circuit’, of the locations of defibrillators in order to direct people when they made a 999 emergency call;

h)    After looking at British Heart Foundation guidance and the location of Plymouth City Council buildings, it had been concluded that a number of the Council’s sites already had defibrillators, and where there wasn’t one, there was on in close proximity;

i)      Five areas were identified where action could be taken to increase the number of defibrillators, one of which included one in the proximity of the Council House and Guildhall, the Guildhall being the preferred location;

j)      Some defibrillators were only available at certain times of day, so one recommendation was to encourage the owners of those sites to make access to the defibrillators 24/7;

k)     Funding was sometimes made available to the voluntary and community sector for defibrillators, so it would be important to identify this and promote it to those in the city to increase the number of defibrillators across the city;

l)      ‘Restart a Heart Day’ was held in the middle of October each year which promoted defibrillators and CPR training and so it would be important to promote this.


Councillor Mrs Terri Beer, who submitted the motion on notice, added;

m)   Every minute was crucial when someone was suffering a heart episode and having a defibrillator nearby could save valuable minutes;

n)    The aim of the motion was to ensure all Council buildings, used by the public and by staff, had a defibrillator;

o)    A former councillor had recently experienced a heart attack at a community centre, and through the critical early use of a defibrillator, along with medically trained members of the public and CPR, had survived;

p)    The recommendations were welcomes, but it was still felt that a defibrillator should be installed in the Council House.


Councillor Mary Aspinall (Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care) added:


q)    She would be happy to revisit the reasoning behind the decision to put a defibrillator at the Guildhall rather than the Council House;

r)     She welcomed the recommendations and advised some would be taken to the Health and Wellbeing Board, where more partners attended.


In response to questions it was reported that:


s)     The subject could be raised in an all members briefing to better educate Councillors, and CPR training could be offered as part of this as well;

t)     The possibility of installing a defibrillator in Plymstock Library would be looked into, though the reason it wouldn’t have been listed as a site would have been that it either already had one, or was in close proximity to one;

u)    Community Grant funding could be used to purchase defibrillators.


The Committee agreed:


1.     To recommend to the Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care that - Plymouth City Council commission defibrillators at the locations identified which included the Guildhall;

2.     To recommend to the Health and Wellbeing Board that –


                   i.    PCC works with partners to promote ‘Restart a Heart Day’ which takes place on or around 16 October each year;

                  ii.    PCC works with partners to promote CPR training;


ii.   All defibrillator owners across Plymouth are encouraged to register their defibrillators on The Circuit - the national defibrillator network;


iii.  All defibrillator owners across Plymouth suitable for public access should consider whether access could be widened to 24/7, if not already;


iv.  PCC promotes schemes to access funding for publicly accessible defibrillators amongst communities;


v.   PCC works with partners to provide defibrillators at St Budeaux library and Southway library.

Supporting documents: