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People who are custodians of defibrillators are struggling with a lack of funding available to refurbish the equipment’s pads after it is used to try and save lives

Calls have been made for funding support for life-saving community defibrillators.

The plea has been made after a machine that has saved four lives in Newark since February was unavailable for another emergency because it had not been replenished due to a lack of money.

Instead, a man had to run 100 metres to get another defibrillator, which delivers an electric shock to the heart following a cardiac arrest.


The defibrillator was installed outside the Old Kings Arms, in Kirkgate, following fundraising by staff and customers.

It has saved a life on average once every eight weeks since being in place.

However, as well as buying the equipment, they are also responsible for maintenance and replacement costs.

It costs £90 per pad, which need to be replaced every time it is used.

“The equipment is not cheap," said the Old King Arms pub licensee David Smith.

Old King's Arms landlord David Smith with the pub's defibrillator.
Old King's Arms landlord David Smith with the pub's defibrillator.

"We raised money for the defibrillator, it was all done through customer-based donations.

“We then realised that we needed a bleed kit because there are not many around so we raised more money for that.”

The bleed control kit, equipment designed to stem serious bleeding that could potentially save a life was £618.

When used, the kit costs £85 to replace.

It is up to the patrons and staff of the pub to put their hands in their pockets to pay for the replacement equipment, otherwise they cannot be used.

"It is a disgrace how we need to continually fund this equipment," said pub patron Lynne Mcelroy.

"It can sit empty for as long as it takes us to raise the money to replace the pads.

“It is wrong.

"If it was an ambulance that came from the hospital and used their own defibrillator, it would be funded by the NHS.

"I think it is totally disgraceful that we have to fund it to make sure the pads are replaced so the machine can work.

“We shouldn't have to do that.

"We already have to fund the maintenance of the machines without replacing the pads after it is being used.

“This money adds up."

"This out-of-hospital care that businesses and clubs are offering to the public is saving lives," added David.

Last year, the government announced a £1m community automated external defibrillators fund to help buy defibrillators.

Paul Taylor, Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Community Relations at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Newark and Sherwood District Council has purchased, installed, and maintain several defibrillators across the district.

"We recognise that defibrillators are incredibly important lifesaving tools and are keen to support local community groups with the initial purchase of community defibrillators through our various funding schemes, such as our community grant scheme.

"At times we may also have grant schemes available for community groups to apply to for the maintenance of defibrillators too.

"Unfortunately, as there are hundreds of privately owned defibrillators across the district, we can only do so much and we understand that generally, the maintenance of these is the responsibility of whoever purchased the equipment in the first place."

"While we install and maintain several public access defibrillators across the East Midlands, we are always pleased to hear about the introduction of more defibs in local communities across the area," said a spokesman for the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

"As this allows us to signpost people to their nearest one if needed during an active cardiac arrest.

"In situations where a defib is not readily available, or it would not be appropriate to fetch someone to get one, we advise the person to perform CPR via effective chest compressions and to keep doing so until help arrives.

"These defibs are owned by the community, scheme, business, or organisation that raised the funds for them, and as their local ambulance service, we can assist with advice on where to install them, in addition to providing training so they know how to use them if available in an emergency.

"This arrangement is not unique to our region but is a framework that is adopted nationally.”

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