Defibrillator Tax

14 people a day or 5,000 a year die in Ireland from cardio vascular diseases. The vast majority of those die of sudden cardiac death. The best chance of survival from sudden cardiac death is the chain of survival. There are 5 links in the chain of survival,

·         Early phone call to the emergency services

·         Early CPR

·         Early Defibrillator

·         Early advanced medical care

·         Early post resuscitation care

It is community at large that are responsible for the first 3 links.

Over the past few years we have seen the chance of survival increase from 1 to 5.5%. In other words, up 5 people are saved each week in Ireland. This can be attributed to early CPR and early use of a defibrillator. Many communities who purchase defibrillator are also trained in CPR.

Seattle has survival rate of approximately 40% as the defibrillator is common place, all shopping centres, leisure/sports centres, large buildings as well as ALL the emergency services. With proper support there is no reason why Ireland can not aspire to a similar set up.

In 2010 one of the councils own staff was successfully resuscitated by a local responder who was trained in CPR and who had a defibrillator.

In 2006 the department of health and Children released “The Report of the Task Force on Sudden Cardiac Death” which it stated “Survival rates following cardiac arrest are directly related to time to resuscitation and in particular defibrillation. A speedy and effective response is required to increase chances of survival. The ESC Task Force recommends a target time from call to defibrillation in out-of – hospital cardiac arrest of 5 minutes”.

I would like to commend the work of communities, fire services, ambulance services, and other voluntary groups that are working to reduce time the time from someone collapsing to the defibrillator arriving.

I would also like to bring your attention to a pilot Defibrillator register in the Midland area where defibrillator can be registered with the national ambulance service on the Pre hospital emergency care council’s web site, and would urge council staff to ensure defibrillators in their area registered.

Having been involved in the running of a Public Access Defibrillator (PAD) programme in my own area I realise first-hand the work and cost involved.

I am asking that the Minister of Health remove the vat on these lifesaving devices. There are other medical equipment such as spinal immobilisation and airway devices which are vat exempt. While these are extremely important medical equipment none are as important as the defibrillator.

The chance of survival reduces 7-10% every minute that the patient is not resuscitated. I believe the cost is a factor in the communities not purchasing more of these devices.

So I am asking that the motion be passed that the VAT of 23% be removed and to make these lifesaving devices vat exempt.