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Belfast Trust invests in 40 Public Access Defibrillators to help save lives

21st March 2024

Stephen Blair, Medical Engineering; Jacqueline O’Neill, Northern Ireland Ambulance Service; Siobhan Acheson, Resuscitation Officer  and Brian McCloskey Consultant who were all involved in the project are pictured alongside one of the new Public Access Defibrillators now in place across our sites.Belfast Trust is pleased to announce the investment and placement of 40 Public Access Defibrillators (PAD) across Trust sites, community facilities and trust car parks.

A Public Access Defibrillator (also called an automated external defibrillator or AED) is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can send an electric shock if needed to restart the heart.

When someone collapses in a sudden cardiac arrest, the cardiac rhythm becomes very abnormal, often resulting in the heart stopping beating. The most important factors for survival following cardiac arrest are the early commencement of effective CPR and early defibrillation of the heart. The defibrillator gives a jolt of energy to the heart, which can help restore it to beating normally again.

Do not be afraid to use it. A defibrillator is designed to be used by the public without training. When switched on, it will guide the user through the steps needed to help save a life. This simple piece of equipment is easy to use, and it could make the difference between life and death – so it’s important to find and use a defibrillator in an emergency. Signage has been placed across the trust public sites to identify the location of the nearest PAD.

The new defibrillators have been placed across the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast City Hospital, Musgrave Park Hospital, Mater Hospital, Muckamore Abbey Hospital and Knockbracken Healthcare Park sites as well as our Health and Wellbeing Centres, providing a vital piece of life saving equipment to local areas.

These AEDs are all registered with The Circuit, the national defibrillator network that provides the ambulance service with a national overview of where defibrillators can be found. In an emergency it will ensure that all ambulance call handlers can quickly direct people to their nearest defibrillator.

Coronary Heart Disease being Northern Ireland’s single biggest killer, with more than 1 in 7 men and 1 in 10 women dying from coronary heart disease. These devices can have an impact on many lives.

The project Lead Dr Brian McCloskey said: “This is a fantastic advancement for us in Belfast Trust to provide these pieces of life saving equipment to hand to our staff, service users and visitors. We are delighted to be able to deliver these new Public Access Defibrillators in our hospital car parks and our community sites.

“This has been a piece of work that has required an extensive amount of planning and collaboration from our teams and it’s an outstanding achievement for them to see them live on our sites.”