Incident Highlights Need for Neston Residents and Businesses to Know Where Defibs Are
|Published: 14th January 2020 10:52|
An incident in Neston has exposed what could be a lack of awareness amongst town centre businesses and residents regarding the location of defibrillators.
Early evening on Thursday 12 December 2019, 89 year old Neston resident Kenneth Ledsom collapsed outside Sainsbury's on the Market Square. A defibrillator could not immediately be found, as the store itself does not have one and available staff had apparently not been briefed on the location of devices elsewhere in the vicinity. Several members of the public stepped in to try and help, and eventually the device belonging to Elephant Bank at The Cross was located and utilised. Mr Ledsom was subsequently taken to Arrowe Park Hospital where he was declared dead.
Simon Knuckey from the Coroner's Office said: "The Coronial Investigation has been concluded and a post mortem examination revealed that Mr Ledsom died from natural causes."
Sainsbury's in Neston, outside which the incident took place in December.
The lack of a device at Sainsbury's, and staff not having been informed of the location of devices elsewhere in the town centre has highlighted a potential need for a procedure review there, though it must be stressed that neither factor is believed to have influenced the sad outcome of this particular event.
It should also be pointed out that there is no legal requirement for a commercial premises to have a defibrillator installed.
As a result of the fundraising efforts of the Joseph Windsor Trust and some local independent businesses stumping up the cash to install and maintain these life saving devices, Neston probably has a higher than average number of defibrillators per head of the population, compared to other towns. They require no medical experience to operate, as they provide automatic step-by-step instructions to the user.
A full list can be viewed here and also on the Neston Life app, the town council website and on the noticeboard outside the Town Hall.
AboutMyArea made enquiries to Sainsbury's within days of the incident, particularly in light of information provided by a local business owner.
Emma Mitchell, owner of Elephant Bank and two other Elephant outlets in the local area, got in touch with her concerns. She said: "I was told that the footfall in Neston Sainsbury's does not support the installation of a defibrillator - this was the conclusion of their corporate risk assessment. As a local resident and business owner, I was disappointed to hear that.
"Are they really saying that they do not feel that the revenue of the store is sufficient to warrant the expenditure of £900 to install life saving equipment for the benefit of the thousands of customers that frequent it?
"We are an independent business with a much lower turnover, yet we have a defibrillator that we maintain weekly and make available to all in the area that might need it. We have also installed, and pay to maintain, another defibrillator on an external wall at Elephant Lounge, our outlet in Parkgate."
The defibrillator installed at Elephant Bank in Neston.
Emma continued: "Despite our polite suggestion, Sainsbury's has not offered to contribute to the cost of replacement pads and battery for our defibrillator (required each time a device is utilised)."
Response from Sainsbury's
AboutMyArea's enquiries to Sainsbury's locally and to head office included asking two specific questions: firstly, what is their policy on the installation of defibrillators and secondly, what is being done to ensure that staff are trained on the whereabouts of locally based defibrillators, should the need arise in future?
The following response was received from the Sainsbury's press office: "We regularly review the health and safety measures of our stores based on a range of factors."
The same question has been put to Aldi's press office, as they have the second largest unit in the town centre. A spokesperson said: "Aldi does not have defibrillators in the Neston area and we don't currently have a national defib installation policy in place."
Whatever the supermarkets' policies on this issue, it has at least given us another opportunity to highlight the locations of these potentially life-saving devices, so please make sure you bookmark this page, or keep the Neston Life app on your mobile device, where you will find the locations displayed in map form under 'Medical - Doctors/Dentists/Defibs'.
We also strongly urge all local business owners and managers to ensure their staff are aware of the location of the device nearest to them and during which hours of the day/night it is accessible.
Please note, the list is only as good as the information we are given, so if you know of any changes - additions or removals - please do let us know by email ASAP.