Call to end VAT on defibs

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Argyll and Bute MSP Jenni Minto has called for the UK Government to end the VAT on all defibrillators in a debate in The Scottish Parliament.

Currently, the cost of a defibrillator is around £1,000 and removing the 20 per cent VAT charge would take the cost down to £830.

In a debate that Ms Minto led in memory of her friend Carl Reavey, who died of an out- of-hospital cardiac arrest in January 2018, Ms Minto highlighted how ‘the reduction of cost would allow more lifesaving machines to be purchased and made available across the country’.

She said: ‘When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every second until they receive CPR or the use of a defibrillator counts, so it is vital we do everything we can to make sure access to defibrillators is as quick and simple as possible.

‘There are many ways we can increase the availability of defibrillators – from registering existing machines with the British Heart Foundation so it can be put on their Circuit database, to fundraising for defibrillators in areas in need – and the removal of VAT is a simple action that would increase the amount of machines purchased.

‘I was delighted to hear the Cabinet Secretary for Finance indicate she is open to writing to her counterparts in the UK Government about removing VAT on defibrillators.

‘I would like to thank all those at the British Heart Foundation, the Scottish Ambulance Service, NHS Scotland and Microsoft for all their efforts to establish Scotland’s first network of defibrillators.’