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Leisure centre did not lend defib to school when teacher collapsed because of health and safety

St Andrews C of E Primary School in Halstead.

St Andrews C of E Primary School in Halstead.

A north Essex school is fundraising to buy a defibrillator after a nearby leisure centre refused to allow staff to use their own lifesaving kit when a teacher collapsed.

Georgina Eade, teacher and staff governor at St Andrew's Primary School, HalsteadGeorgina Eade, teacher and staff governor at St Andrew's Primary School, Halstead

Colleagues at St Andrew’s Primary School, Halstead, managed to get teacher Georgina Eade’s heart going again after she went into cardiac arrest at the end of the school day.

Paramedics arrived and Miss Eade, 37, was flown to Barnet General Hospital by the Essex Air Ambulance where the year one teacher and staff governor is fortunately recovering following the incident on March 7.

But first aid efforts had been hampered when school staff who had run to the Fusion Lifestyle leisure centre across the school field to request a defibrillator were told they could not use it.

Centre staff said health and safety meant the machine – which is not a community or public piece of kit – prevented it being shared out, while it could also be needed if there was an incident at the centre at the same time.

Halstead Leisure CentreHalstead Leisure Centre

The Health and Safety Executive said there are no regulations which would prevent sharing of a defibrillator.

Headteacher Bridgette Gough said: “I would like to thank everyone for their kind supportive words after such a traumatic week.

“We are so very pleased with how the children conducted themselves.

“We know our quick-thinking, calm staff have been heroic and I cannot praise them enough.

“We are now running a campaign to raise enough funds to buy our own defibrillator and train our staff to use it, as we were not given access to the local one when this incident occurred.”

People can donate at the school reception, or support a cake sale taking place on Thursday.

In a statement Fusion Lifestyle said: “Fusion regrets it was unable to assist on this occasion and hopes the teacher involved makes a full recovery.

“Unfortunately, Fusion Lifestyle was unable to share its own defibrillator due to the stringent nature of the health and safety processes and procedures surrounding the use of such equipment.

“This incident has highlighted the importance for the school to have its own defibrillator. Therefore, this is something Fusion Lifestyle will support the school in purchasing.

“Removing the defibrillator would have put the general public at Halstead Leisure Centre at risk had an incident taken place – furthermore, a peak swim school session was about to begin, with a full pool of children and associated parents.”


  • The Leisure Centre did not act in a very sensible manor and in particular by trying to hide behind Health & Safety when no such restriction existed. The chances of a heart attack occurring in the leisure centre at the same time is about as remote a chance as I have of wining the lottery. I would bet the Leisure centre has actually never had a hear attach occur on its premises It would be sensible to change the law so that any premises with a defibulator are required in an medical emergency to make them available to anyone suitably qualified to use one

    Report this comment

    Bill Jackson

    Sunday, March 20, 2016

  • Whilst it's shocking the leisure centre refused the loan of this life saving equipment I can't ignore the schoolsgovernments initial decision in choosing not to have their own defibrillator in the first place? Furthermore this just highlights the bigger problem in that companies and organisations do not feel the need to have them simply because a persons life is not worth £700 and a budget not allowing! Unfortunately most companies make the decision to purchase a defibrillator reactively rather than proactively so until the law is changed people continue to be at risk. I believe it should be compulsory for all schools, colleges, universities and nurseries to have one!

    Report this comment


    Saturday, March 19, 2016

  • I am genuinely shocked and appalled at the stupid policy and even worse the arrogant, pathetic and frankly materially incorrect defence of said policy. I am so glad the teacher seems to be recovering, all credit to her colleagues the ambulance service and hospital, no credit at all to the leisure centre, no matter how they try to spin it. I have written to the Royal Life Saving Society, to see how they feel about this centre using their logo on their web site in light of their obvious callous indifference to saving lives. Same on you Halstead leisure Centre

    Report this comment

    Danny Brown

    Saturday, March 19, 2016

  • The policy at the this leisure centre is a callous disgrace. Every second counts in these type of emergencies. I only hope that those responsible think again very carefully. Also they should reflect how they may feel if they or any of their loved ones were ever unfortunate to have urgent need of a defibrillator.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, March 19, 2016

  • This is the sort of thing that happens when you put private sector firms in charge of a public facility like a leisure centre. They were probably frightened the school would have kept it. I wonder if Fusion actually had any staff on duty who were able to use it?

    Report this comment

    James Lakin

    Saturday, March 19, 2016

  • To refuse to lend the kit in the first place is bad enough and should trigger a review. To defend such a position is indefensible. What is the point of having such a piece of kit if it is never allowed to be used. If they were not sure if the kit could be used without training couldn't they have spared someone to operate it even if it meant stopping some of their own activities for a short time.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, March 19, 2016

  • This is disgraceful action by staff ar Fusion lifestyle there should be a total boycott of this place by the local community.Agree with all the above comments. Trust this member of staff is making a full recovery.

    Report this comment


    Saturday, March 19, 2016

  • How some jobsworth person with the health and safety rules stuffed down her throat at Fusion leisure centre should be sacked immediately.

    Report this comment


    Friday, March 18, 2016

  • Agree with JJC's comment. I hope Fusion Lifestyle makes a substantial contribution to the school's fundraising effort and that the defibrillator purchased is deemed to be for 'community use' rather than the 'private' use that appears to apply to Fusion, in case someone was to collapse in the street outside either of these premises. The excuse that the defibrillator could not be taken to the school in case it was needed at Fusion beggars belief. How many times have Fusion needed to use it - and of those, how many of them clashed with someone else needing it at the same time nearby.

    Report this comment


    Friday, March 18, 2016

  • health and safety.....durrhhh!!

    Report this comment


    Friday, March 18, 2016

  • This is disgusting the leisure centre should be ashamed of themselves , As part of their basic training they known the importance of early defibrillation , If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest, survival chances increase from 6% to 74%. How dare they use such an awful excuse there will never be any repercussions of helping to save someone's life

    Report this comment


    Friday, March 18, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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