"A DIFFERENCE between life and death" is how West Midlands Ambulance Service's bosses have described the decision to help every school in the region get a defibrillator.

The Department for Education has announced plans to allow schools to purchase defibrillators at a reduced cost in time for the start of the autumn term.

Emma Wilkins, head of community response, said: “For every parent in the region, there is nothing more important than keeping their children safe at school.

“There is no formal data on the number of deaths of pupils under the age of 18 in schools but the Department of Health estimates around 88 children per year die of sudden cardiac arrest.

“Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often, but it can literally happen to anyone whether they have been diagnosed with a cardiac condition or not.

“We know from the work that we do every day just how important such machines can be in saving lives. It would be great if every school in the region had a look at the scheme.

“Having a defibrillator in every school could make the difference between life or death for one of their pupils.”