Getting to the heart of the matter: London Ambulance Service and GoodSAM app team up to provide additional voluntary help to cardiac arrest patients across the Capital
The London Ambulance Service (LAS) is embarking on an exciting new partnership with the internationally acclaimed GoodSAM app, in which clinically trained ambulance staff and members of the public with basic life support skills trained to an LAS standard, can now sign up as volunteers to respond to life-threatening emergency calls, including cardiac arrests.
The GoodSAM app uses GPS technology to alert trained first responders to nearby life-threatening emergencies.
The sooner effective Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is started, the better the chance of survival for the patient. If a defibrillator is readily available, patients are six times as likely to survive.
Volunteer responders with basic life support skills who are affiliated or trained to an LAS Standard should register on the GoodSAM app selecting London Ambulance Service as the verifying organisation. Those who are not LAS trained or affiliated should select GoodSAM as the verifying organisation.
Funded by the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, supported by Nesta and the Cabinet Office, this ground-breaking project will initially see the mobilisation of clinically trained London Ambulance Service volunteer responders – paramedics for example – who can respond to alerts via the GoodSAM App on their smartphone about life-threatening calls.
The volunteer responder will attend in addition to the normal emergency ambulance response, which is deployed to life-threatening calls.
When an emergency call is directed to the London Ambulance Service Emergency Operations Centre and it is classified to be of a life-threatening nature, details will automatically be sent through to the GoodSAM app, which will alert the nearest volunteer responder who has registered with the app.
If the responder is available and has already been approved through the governance process administered by London Ambulance Service for its own staff and members of the public with basic life support skills trained to an LAS standard, they can accept the alert via the GoodSAM app and make their way to the location of the incident.
If the volunteer responder is not in a position to accept the alert, it can be declined and will get diverted through to the next nearest responder.
The responder will also be advised of the location of the nearest defibrillator. When a public access defibrillator is used in cardiac arrest, the overall survival rate to discharge is 58.6 per cent.
Chris Hartley-Sharpe, Head of First Responders at London Ambulance Service said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the GoodSAM team. It’s a well-established fact that the sooner effective CPR is started, the better the chance of survival for the patient. Getting a defibrillator to someone in cardiac arrest further increases their chance of survival.
“By working with GoodSAM, we have introduced an integrated and seamless approach that will enable our volunteer responders to be alerted via the GoodSAM app to a patient in cardiac arrest nearby.
“For example, if our control room receives a 999 call about someone in cardiac arrest on Bond Street, an alert would go to the nearest volunteer responder via the GoodSAM app.
“They could accept the alert and make their way to the patient. It is important to stress the responder is an additional resource to the emergency ambulance response, which is deployed as normal to a patient in cardiac arrest.
“While we are actively encouraging our own clinically trained staff and LAS accredited members of the public to sign up as volunteer responders, we are also working with other emergency services to help promote the GoodSAM app to their staff. They too would need to demonstrate that they had the skills required to be a volunteer responder.”
Dr Mark Wilson, GoodSAM’s Medical Director, said: “If a patient has a cardiac arrest or a traumatic head injury, it is the first few minutes after the incident that determine the outcome – life, death, or long-term brain injury.
“But in this time frame, we could never have enough ambulances to be on scene and able to provide treatment within two minutes. That is why we need to alert people with the right life support training skills.
“We are delighted that the London Ambulance Service has partnered with us and would urge other organisations and medically trained individuals around the world to continue to do so as well.”
Despite pressures on the London Ambulance Service, the average response time to cardiac arrest patients is 7 minutes 38 seconds, well within the eight minute target time.