The Department of Health estimated that around 88 children a year die from cardiac arrest - but there is no data on how many in schools. Even if someone has not been diagnosed with a heart condition, they may still be vulnerable to a sudden cardiac arrest. According to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), an estimated eight apparently young people die every week from an undiagnosed heart condition, and many victims would have undiagnosed symptoms.
To enable school nurses and other health professionals in schools deal with such medical emergencies and save lives, the Department for Education has announced a plan that schools will be able to buy defibrillators at a low cost. This life-saving machine, which gives the heart an electric shock, usually costs around £1,000, but the government is looking to secure a supplier to offer them to schools at a competitive price and they should be available in schools by the autumn term.
Schools Minister Lord Nash said: “There is nothing more important than keeping children safe at school. That is why this government is today publishing updated guidance to schools on managing children with medical conditions.”
There is also updated guidance on how to support pupils at school with medical conditions, which includes procedure to be followed, policy put in place by the school, appropriate staff training and support, and emergency procedures.