PEOPLE are calling for a defibrillator to be bought and installed outside a supermarket in Wantage after a man suffered from a heart attack.

The incident happened on Wednesday last week (November 2) outside the Sainsburys store in Limborough Road.

Several passers-by stopped to help the man with one local nurse performing CPR until an ambulance arrived.

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However, when trying to find a nearby defibrillator, which is treatment for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, it was discovered the store did not have one.

Residents are now calling for the store to install the equipment as well as encouraging each other to download a phone app called ‘Save A Life’ which tells the user where the closest defibrillator is.

The nurse, who was one of the first people on the scene, is also hoping to fundraise for the equipment on behalf of the store.

Commenting in the Wantage and Grove Facebook group, she said: “I am contacting the town council and South Central Ambulance Service to try and ensure one is available at Sainsburys as this is the busiest place in town.

“No one needs training on these, they are so simple to use. As a local nurse, I will make this my mission to ensure one is at hand at the busiest supermarket.

“No one should die for the lack of a defibrillator. No way does it always save lives by a long way but it’s our best chance.”

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People were quick to commend the idea, with some suggesting the store should be fronting the cost themselves.

One resident said: “Sainsbury's could easily afford a defib and perhaps should be asked why a large company like themselves don't have one.”

Another added: “Very surprising and shocking that there isn't a defibrillator at Sainsburys side of town.”

Jim Sibbald, Mayor of Wantage, said the land Sainsbury’s is on is privately owned and therefore outside of the town council’s remit.

He said: “Obviously the town council do support the positioning of defibrillators around the town. We manage the ones in phone boxes within Market Place.

“So there are some around and I would recommend people look at the list of locations on our website and download the ‘Save A Life’ app.”

However, others did not believe a defibrillator was needed as it ‘costs a lot of money’ and maintenance is ‘not cheap’.

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One person said: “One heart attack in 25 years outside the store and they need to get a defib? If they did it for one store, they would have to do it for all.”

Sainsbury’s has failed to comment.


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This story was written by Gee Harland. She joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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