A new initiative which aims to make sure that people who have suffered a cardiac arrest receive life-saving help as quickly as possible has launched across the region.
The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has joined forces with GoodSAM, which uses an app to alert appropriately trained off-duty frontline staff and community first responders to life-threatening calls nearby.
They can then start treatment as quickly as possible by beginning CPR or using a defibrillator while the nearest emergency ambulance travels to the scene, in turn significantly increasing the patient’s chances of survival.
The system will not change the way EEAST responds to cardiac arrests, and crews will continue to be dispatched in the normal way.
Gary Morgan, deputy director of service delivery for EEAST, said: “We are really pleased to have become the latest ambulance trust to link with GoodSAM to launch this life-saving initiative. It will draw on the skills of our dedicated staff and excellent network of community first responders to further enhance the response we are able to give to our most seriously-ill patients.
“Response time is a critical factor in cardiac arrest, and statistics from the British Heart Foundation show that for every minute delay in starting CPR, a patient’s chance of survival falls by 10 per cent. That is why it vital for patients to receive treatment as early as possible.
“It’s important to stress that GoodSAM is not a replacement for the emergency ambulance response, but an additional resource which will help us to further improve the service we provide to our patients. Our crews will continue to be dispatched to emergency calls in the same way, and will work alongside the GoodSAM responder to provide advanced treatment once they arrive on scene.”
The GoodSAM app is already used widely across the globe, including by ambulance services in London, the East Midlands and Wales. It works by alerting the three nearest GoodSAM responders when EEAST’s control room receives a 999 call to a cardiac arrest.
Anybody who accepts an alert will be given directions to the scene of the emergency, as well as information about the location of the nearest defibrillator. On average, EEAST responds to 26 cardiac arrests every day across the region.
“This is a fantastic initiative which has real potential to save lives,” said Anthony Brett, safety and risk lead with EEAST, who has signed up as a GoodSAM responder. “Seconds really do count when someone is in cardiac arrest and starting CPR as quickly as possible is essential. GoodSAM will play a really important role in helping to start that chain of survival and I’m really pleased to be taking part.”
Professor Mark Wilson, neurosurgeon and GoodSAM co-founder, said: “It is an incredibly exciting time for GoodSAM as we continue to scale our lifesaving community, both in the UK and globally. GoodSAM is now live in the majority of UK ambulance services and we are delighted that East of England Ambulance Service has joined us.
“GoodSAM has proven to be a powerful tool, using modern technology, that really can make a difference in an emergency situation. There are thousands of qualified GoodSAM Responders across the region and we look forward to working with EEAST to harness their skills and continue to improve outcomes following cardiac arrest in the East of England.”
Any community first responders working with EEAST who are interested in signing up can visit www.goodsamapp.org and select EEAST as their verifying organisation.
The initiative has been part-funded by the Big Lottery Fund and Nesta, as part of the Accelerating Ideas Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.