Response by the Community Heartbeat Trust Charity (providers of the Brisley defibrillator)

You may have heard the announcement by BHF reported in the news yesterday (8/8/18) about BHF developing a new national database of defibrillators. Most media failed to verify the information prior to broadcast, and we hope this will correct these media broadcasts.

In the BHF press release and media interviews it was stated by Simon Gillespie, CEO of BHF, stated that (quote) “It will give ambulance services immediate access to the location of defibrillators in their area so that they can direct bystanders to their nearest life-saving device…”.

We would like to point out that this work by BHF, presumably using funds donated for medical research, is

1. unnecessary;

2. a repeat of work already undertaken; and

3. is based upon a mistaken premise.

All defibrillators either acquired via CHT, adopted by CHT or registered via CHT (and other charities) including ALL registered through the WebNos Governance system (since 2012), as well as those registered direct with ambulance services, are not only FULLY registered already with your local ambulance service, but are also available to the public via the National Defibrillator Database (www.nddb.uk). This announcement by BHF is unfortunately misleading and is causing stress and anxiety with members of the public who are now under the impression their defibrillators are not registered and cannot be used. The BHF announcement has caused significant work for other charities to correct and address this anxiety with the public, using time and funds better used for their charitable purposes. CHT has received numerous calls in the past 24 hrs with panicking public.

Ambulance services already inform bystanders of the location of the nearest available defibrillator, and have done for the last 10 years.

There is already a national defibrillator database, and ambulance services also already have a database of defibrillators in their area, which will activate automatically in a rescue. Members of the public can register their defibrillator either directly with their local ambulance service, or preferably via CHT onto the WebNos Governance system, and then automatically onto the National Defibrillator database. Both WebNos and NDDb are available free to the public, any defibrillator owner and the NHS, RC(UK), emergency services and government agencies, such as CQC.

However, the more important feature is governance and accuracy of data. It is not about a list of defibrillator locations, but whether these locations and defibrillators are accurately represented, are active and usable, and have provenance. The production of an ‘App’ for members of the public to find a defibrillator is NOT the way to activate a defibrillator in an emergency, as it does not necessarily tell you where

• the defibrillator actually is,

• whether it is available,

• whether it is operational, if it is required, and if in a locked cabinet,

• how to get access.

It also causes delays in a time dependent situation, as well as being questionable if the 4G signal required is actually available. To date, no mapping ‘App’ has offered any solution to the activation of defibrillators for the public.

This move by BHF offers nothing to the public or survival from Cardiac Arrest, and at this stage is only an idea being worked on with selected ambulance organisations in both England and Scotland over the next 12 months plus. There is no guarantee that anything will result, or will be usable at the end of this period, but in the past 24 hours it can be seen that the public are deciding to delay notification of their defibrillators to ‘wait for the BHF database’, the result of which is less use of defibrillators. Other databases are already available and have the right features that allow the use of a defibrillator in a rescue.

BHF have not consulted with significant stakeholders, such as CHT and others, before making this unilateral announcement, nor have they checked or consulted on work that has been ongoing for the past 10 years in this area. CHT expresses a concern over the public funds being used for this project which is repeating work already undertaken, and thus is re-inventing the wheel. We hope in the future BHF will be more consultative with other organisations involved in this area, and direct their efforts to areas that will enhance survival of patients suffering Cardiac Arrest.

Always dial 999 in an emergency. Your ambulance service will tell you where the nearest defibrillator is located, if it is available to be used, and whether it is required thus avoiding misuse. Your nearest defibrillator may not be the one you are thinking of. Or one that appears on an ‘App’!