BIRKENHEAD has been identified as a "defib black spot" by the British Heart Foundation (BFH).

BFH has said that this means it is one of the places in the country with low access to the life-saving equipment, as well as having areas of high deprivation.

A new BFH scheme is targeting ten areas in the UK with the hope that increasing the numbers of defibrillators will increase the survival rates of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.  

There are an average of around 2.4 defibrillators per 1,000 people in Birkenhead registered on The Circuit: the national defibrillator network – well below the UK average in urban areas of 8.9 defibrillators per 1,000 people.

This means that in Birkenhead you are on average a 10-minute round trip walk away from the closest defib, using available roads and footpaths. 

There are more than 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK, but less than one in ten people survive.

In the North West of England there are around 3,900 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year, with a survival rate of just one in 15.  

Birkenhead was chosen as a target for the new Community Defibrillator Fund scheme as it has been identified as having high levels of deprivation but limited access to defibrillators.

There are more than 79,000 defibrillators registered on The Circuit: the national defibrillator network, but these are not evenly distributed.

Recent research supported by the BHF found that people living in the most deprived areas of England are on average 99 metres further away from their nearest 24/7 defibrillator than those in the least deprived areas. The charity fears defibrillator black spots like Birkenhead is putting lives at risk. 

There are 220 defibrillator packages available immediately to communities across the country as part of the charity’s Community Defibrillator Fund, supported by fundraising from BHF’s charity partner Royal Mail.  

In total, Royal Mail are aiming to fund 420 defibrillators across four years. 

Local areas awarded one of the defibrillators will also be provided with a cabinet for the equipment, and installation costs will be covered where required. Communities can order future replacement parts free of charge when they expire or are used in a rescue.  

BHF will ensure that each defibrillator will also be registered on The Circuit: the national defibrillator network, so ambulance services can direct bystanders to the defibrillator in the event of a cardiac arrest.  

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation, said: "Every defibrillator has the power to save a life and every second counts when someone has a cardiac arrest.

"Performing early CPR and having access to a defibrillator gives someone the best chance of survival.  

"There simply aren’t enough defibrillators where they’re needed most, as research has shown that many communities are too far away from their nearest defibrillator.

"These devices make where you live safer, as cardiac arrests can happen to anyone, at any time. More communities will have access to a defibrillator that can save lives."

Communities are invited to apply for their free defibrillator on the BHF website here: