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