Fitness centre sparks defibrillator concern


Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry has stepped into a debate about the lack of defibrillators at one of Banbury’s major fitness centres.

Sir Tony fears that Bannatyne’s Health Club in Oxford Road could potentially be accused of negligence if it was ruled it did not provide suitable cover for cardiac arrest emergencies. He has now written personally to millionaire Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne to question an official policy not to have defibrillators at the nationwide Bannatyne chain of health clubs.

The MP’s intervention came after Keep the Horton General campaigner and heart attack survivor Peter McLoughlin wrote to him for advice.

Mr McLoughlin said: “Having once myself witnessed a young man in his 30s suffer cardiac arrest in the Horton Hospital gym, I often muse as to the potential for some unfortunate incident of the like in Bannatyne’s and imagined the gym would be equipped with a defibrillator. I was somewhat taken aback to be told that not only did they not have such provision but that it was company policy not to have it.”

Mr McLoughlin’s request through the Banbury centre that the policy be reversed was turned down.

Sir Tony said he wrote to Duncan Bannatyne last week and is awaiting a response.

A spokesperson for Bannatyne’s confirmed its first aiders are fully trained in CPR and added: “It is most important that first aid training, which covers a comprehensive range of potential issues, is given to staff. We have trained first aiders and proven and effective first aid procedures in all our health clubs. We do not have defibrillators in our health clubs. This is a company policy which is decided at board level and not by any one individual.”

Elsewhere in Banbury, Spiceball Sports Centre in Cherwell Drive confirmed with the Banbury Guardian that it has a defibrillator on site with staff trained in cardiac resuscitation and use of the device.

Last year a teenager’s life was saved with use of the centre’s machine.