Health Minister not to oppose Bill on defibrillators

Private Member’s Bill from Independent Senator Feargal Quinn requires the public availability of defibrillators

Feargal Quinn: He said defibrillation is a crucial link in what the experts call the ‘chain of survival’.

Feargal Quinn: He said defibrillation is a crucial link in what the experts call the ‘chain of survival’.

Thu, Jun 20, 2013, 01:00

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly has accepted the principle of a Private Member’s Bill from Independent Senator Feargal Quinn requiring the public availability of defibrillators.

“Advances in technology and reduced production costs now mean that defibrillators are more affordable and as a result should be far more widely available,’’ he said.

Mr Quinn, who was speaking during the second stage debate on his Public Health (Availability of Defibrillators) Bill, said defibrillation was a crucial link in what the experts called the “chain of survival’’.

The survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Ireland stood at 1 per cent in 2005, and rose to 6.5 per cent last year. The goal was to achieve a survival rate of 40 per cent.

Thanked Mr Quinn
Dr Reilly thanked Mr Quinn for introducing the Bill, adding that he would not oppose it. He said the Health Information and Quality Authority would undertake a health technology assessment of a public defibrillator programme for Ireland.
“The advice from the assessment will inform my subsequent decisions on the design and implementation of a national programme,’’ said Dr Reilly. The Minister said the majority of cardiac arrests occurred in the home and less than half of those had a heart rhythm abnormality that could not be corrected by defibrillation.

Evidence suggested that the clinical benefits and cost effectiveness of a public defibrillation programme were strongly related to the likelihood that a cardiac arrest would occur at the location where the defibrillator was sited. There were, therefore, a number of questions that needed to be considered when designing such a programme, he added.