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Pressure in Belgium to widen access to AEDs (automated external defibrillators):

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

Two Belgian MPs are calling for better access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in public places, saying that the law should be changed to allow people other than doctors to use the devices. Health minister Rudy Demotte is adamant that AEDs should be used only by suitably trained personnel. While the MPs agree with this, they wish to see the law changed to clarify the legal position of staff belonging to organisations such as the Red Cross, who may not be specifically trained. People who are at the frontline of contact with the public, such as the police and airport personnel, and families of those vulnerable to having heart attacks, should also be allowed to carry and use AEDs, they argue. Recent examples of the drive to increase access to AEDs in the UK, for example, includes the imminent installation of the last of 3,000 devices in busy public places (see Clinica No 1147, p 6) and a regional initiative to equip refuse collection teams serving rural communities (see Clinica No 1141, p 6).

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