Call for council to back down over Mackie defibrillator

Mackie Academy
Mackie Academy

Stonehaven and District Community Council has called for the immediate placing of a defibrillator inside Mackie Academy.

The community council was gifted four defibrillators for the town by oil company Baker Hughes in May 2015, and currently planning permission has been granted for one outside-located defibrillator in the Stonehaven Market Square, while another on the RNLI Boatshed at the Stonehaven Harbour is near to completion.

A third defibrillator is located behind the tills of the Co-op’s David Street Store.

The community council would like to place the fourth defibrillator at the town’s secondary school, but says that Aberdeenshire Council has prevented it from keeping the defibrillator inside the building.

A council-wide policy on the placement of defibrillators on the exterior of buildings was approved by Policy and Resources earlier this year.

Speaking at a recent meeting, community councillor Ian Balgowan said: “They have defibrillators in Ellon Library and now in Auchenblae Primary. Why can’t we get one in Mackie Academy?”

New chairman Phil Mills-Bishop commented: “Council officers are delaying us. Auchenblae Primary School has a defibrillator inside, but when we have asked to do the same at Mackie Academy it’s a no.

“We have a defibrillator that could be put inside Mackie Academy tomorrow.”

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Councillors Graeme Clark and Peter Bellarby agreed to speak to Aberdeenshire Council officers about the discrepancy.

Cllr Clark said: “Stonehaven seems to be awkward. It seems to work elsewhere in the Shire. I don’t know what the problem is here but this is especially serious as a defibrillator could save someone’s life.”

A Council spokesperson clarified that the defibrillator at Ellon Library is located on the outside of the building. She added that Auchenblae Primary defibrillator is for school use, while the defibrillator intended for Mackie would be for public use, explaining that if it was placed inside Mackie Academy it would not be accessible 24 hours a day.

Ritchie Johnson, Director of Business Services for Aberdeenshire Council added: “Aberdeenshire Council is aware that there is growing interest from the community in supporting the provision of defibrillation in our towns and villages. To support this, we recently approved a policy to help community groups locate their Public Access Defibrillators on the outside of Council buildings, should that be the most appropriate location. We are also investigating whether such devices should be located inside Council buildings and that work is ongoing.

“We are aware that there has been an instance where a community owned defibrillator has recently been located within a Council building ahead of any decision made by the Council. Whilst this has been implemented outwith policy, we understand the good intention and will not be asking for its removal. However, we are not able to support further developments until we have completed the work to determine the financial and resource implications of how and whether such devices should be available in all Council buildings.”