Rotherham’s Start a Heart 24:7 is backing John Healey’s campaign to put a stop to VAT being charged on the sale of defibrillators.

The Wentworth and Dearne MP launched the national campaign alongside Wath based defibrillator distributor Martek Lifecare and the British Healthcare Trades Association earlier this month.

Under current regulations local groups, sports clubs and charities face a 20% VAT charge when they buy the lifesaving machines.

Working in conjunction with local communities Start a Heart 24:7 is dedicated to helping provide 24:7 access to defibrillators in the community.

Start a Heart founder, Trish Lister, said: “I saw John’s campaign to cut the VAT charge on defibrillators and thought it was a simple idea that could help save thousands of lives across the country.

“Defibrillators are vital life saving devices but lots of different groups across the borough find it hard to raise the money they need to buy them.

“We support communities in their fund raising for the devices and cutting VAT on the purchase would reduce costs by around £200 each time, making it easier to get defibrillators in the places they’re needed.”

Start a Heart 24:7 has installed more than 100 defibrillators around Rotherham and was founded by Mrs Lister following the death of her husband Stuart from a heart attack.

John Healey MP said: “This extra cost on defibrillators is a tax on saving lives.

“At present, only defibrillators purchased by or donated to local authorities and the NHS are exempt from the tax. This cost can deter individuals, businesses, and community groups from buying the potentially lifesaving equipment.

“Defibrillators bought for use by community groups, charities and sports clubs should be VAT exempt to make them more affordable and help save more lives across the country.”

Early defibrillation with a patient in cardiac arrest greatly improves survival rates. Figures from the British Heart Foundation show there are currently over 30,000 cases of out of hospital suspected cardiac arrests every year with fewer than 1 in 10 people surviving.

John launched a petition calling on the Government to cut the VAT on defibrillators.

It’s available to sign online at