The parents of tragic north-east teen Keiran McKandie fear “police bureaucracy” is holding up their lifesaving goal of funding a defibrillator rollout across the country.
The 16-year-old died after being hit by a car while cycling from the family’s home near Elgin in March 2016.
Since then, his parents Sandra and Gordon have devoted themselves to tireless fundraising to supply defibrillators across the country in the belief immediate access to the equipment may have had lifesaving benefits for their son.
Cases carrying Keiran’s name are currently held in vehicles based in Elgin, Inverurie, Mintlaw, Dingwall and Fort William to enable road policing officers to provide vital aid.
However, the McKandie family has revealed their attempts to expand their reach to other divisions of the force have so far been blocked.
Mrs McKandie said: “Clearly they are being used and we want to see it progressed across the rest of Scotland. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s not for the want of us trying.
“April will be the five years since Keiran died, which shows just how long we’ve been working at it.
“We don’t know exactly what the reasons are.
“I think there are issues around getting staff trained, I think they’re worried about funding and I think there is a lot of bureaucracy.”
Defibrillators funded by Keiran’s Legacy, which is the charity established in his honour, were used four times during 2020 – with the decrease from 21 uses in 2019 believed to be related to the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
However, it is understood that at least one of the incidents helped save a person’s life, albeit temporarily, and allow their family to be at their bedside before they died several days later.
Mrs McKandie said: “If they’re used once and help to save one life then that’s all that matters – even if it is just to give a family time to be with a loved one.
“Another defibrillator we funded was used in October on a Glasgow man while he was in Lossiemouth.
“The family was very grateful to have had that time with him before he very sadly died.
“One of the big concerns we have had during Covid is that people don’t want to call for help because they don’t want to bother the emergency services.
“We would rather they called because the defibrillators are there to be used – they can make a difference.”
Keiran’s Legacy has now funded more than 90 defibrillators across the country, many of which have been installed at community facilities, popular outdoor locations and businesses.
The charity has also provided training at schools and for community groups to build confidence in using the equipment.
Police have said they continue to talk to the McKandie family about a defibrillator rollout to other parts of Scotland.
Chief Inspector Neil Lumsden said: “We remain extremely grateful to the McKandie family for their generous donation of defibrillators which are routinely carried in road policing vehicles operating throughout the north-east and the Highlands and islands.
“The use of the defibrillators depends entirely on the individual circumstances of each incident.
“Officers are fully trained to use the devices wherever they are needed and continue to work with partners from the Scottish Ambulance Service to provide the best possible medical aid at serious incidents.
“Options for the wider use of defibrillators within Police Scotland is being considered and we will ensure the McKandie family are informed of any future plans.”