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Defibrillator scheme targets 'high risk' communities

Defibrillator scheme targets 'high risk' communities

Published at 8:10am 16th December 2015. (Updated at 11:56am 16th December 2015)

Money is being made available for up to 18 new life-saving community defibrillators across the Harrogate District.

11 'high risk' areas have been identified, where the distance from A&E could prevent people who suffer a cardiac arrest from receiving prompt medical attention.

Those areas are Pateley Bridge, Summerbridge, Masham, North Stainley, Boroughbridge, Kirk Hammerton, Green Hammerton, Huby, Sicklinghall, Tockwith and Pannal.

Defibrillators deliver a high-energy electric shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm.

Harrogate Borough Council says it will match-fund 50% of the cost and has set aside £16,000.

Free training will be provided by Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

It follows controversy earlier this year when fundraisers were initially told that they would need to pay for planning permission before installing two new defibrillators.

The authority later admitted that instruction was wrong, blaming confusion about the rules.

Councillor Richard Cooper, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said: "Earlier this year, the council made a mistake when we said that planning permission was needed for community defibrillators. 

"It wasn't, but our mistake could have delayed the installation of defibrillators were it not for the research provided by community groups.

"I am sorry we got that wrong, because I know how important these life-saving devices are, particularly where quick and easy access to paramedics or the hospital is not an option. 

"That is why I wanted to introduce the community defibrillator scheme. 

"There are people who still have parents, children, brothers and sisters because of community defibrillators. 

"There will be people sitting down with loved ones this Christmas because their lives were saved.

"Next Christmas, I want that number to be higher, and with this scheme in place, it will be."

The community defibrillator scheme opens on Friday 18 December and you can get more details at www.harrogate.gov.uk/cpi/Pages/Community-Grants.aspx?lgnl=100010,200047