Scrap VAT on AEDs and publish stroke strategy

By June Shannon Policy News   |   23rd Aug 2022

The Irish Heart Foundation’s Pre-Budget 2023 submission calls for VAT on AEDs to be scrapped and the publication of the National Stroke Strategy.  

The Irish Heart Foundation has reiterated its call for the VAT on life-saving defibrillators to be scrapped immediately as part of its pre-Budget 2023 submission.

An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a portable, simple to use, computerised device. In some cardiac arrests, an AED will deliver a shock to the heart to allow it to resume its normal rhythm.

On average AEDs cost €1,500, including €345 VAT – making them unaffordable for many community organisations.

In its submission which was launched today (Aug 23), the Irish Heart Foundation called on Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe to remove the 23 per cent tax burden levied on the portable life-saving devices in next month’s Budget.

Resuscitation Manager with the Irish Heart Foundation Brigid Sinnott, said sporting and voluntary groups are also being hit with approximately €100 extra in VAT whenever they replace pads and batteries – which must be done regularly to keep the AEDs in working order.

The VAT on defibrillators is a tax on saving lives and it’s time it was removed,” said Ms Sinnott, who is also a community first responder and trained to administer defibrillation during a medical emergency before paramedics arrive.

“The more AEDs there are available in local communities and accessible to the public, the more lives can be saved. We hope the Minister will have listened to the thousands of individuals who have supported our petition by the time he delivers his Budget,” Ms Sinnott added.

Volunteer group Community First Responders Ireland (CFR Ireland) is also backing the campaign.

CFR Ireland chairperson John Fitzgerald said, “We in CFR Ireland have long called for VAT on AEDs to be removed and we are delighted to join the Irish Heart Foundation today. The VAT on AEDs is a barrier to saving lives and we hope the Minister will remove it in the Budget.”

“ The VAT on defibrillators is a tax on saving lives and it’s time it was removed "

Brigid Sinnott, Resus Manager , The Irish Heart Foundation

In its pre-Budget 2023 submission the Irish Heart Foundation also called  for the publication and full funding of the long-awaited National Stroke Strategy, including an allocation of over €10 million over the next three years to increase stroke service staffing levels.

The charity also called for €1 million in funding for a new Cardiovascular Health Unit in the Department of Health, and for work to begin on a cardiovascular health policy.

The Irish Heart Foundation has also urged the Government to direct the proceeds of the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax towards a national programme to improve children’s health. The tax could be made more effective, the charity said, if it was extended to include milk-based drinks.

The charity is also calling for a 20 per cent increase to the school meals programme budget, at a cost of €13.6 million, and for the introduction of healthy food subsidies to help disadvantaged communities.

Along with a 10c excise duty on every millilitre of e-cigarette liquid sold, the Irish Heart Foundation also wants Minister Donohoe to start the ball rolling on pro-rata increases to tobacco taxation –  which would mean a pack of 20 cigarettes costing €20 by 2025. This would require a Budget price rise of €1.57 a packet next month.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s pre-Budget 2023 submission is available to read here

Please sign the AED petition, here

 

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AED Budget 2023 pre budget stroke stroke strategy sugar drinks tax

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