The East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) is partnering with the internationally acclaimed GoodSAM app, in which clinically trained ambulance staff, other medical professionals and the public with basic life support skills, can sign up as volunteers to respond to life-threatening emergency calls, including cardiac arrests. This development is thanks to the Big Lottery Fund and Nesta, as part of the Accelerating Ideas Fund and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
This amazing project will also see the mobilisation of clinically trained EEAST volunteer responders – paramedics or doctors for example – who can respond to alerts via the GoodSAM app on their smartphone about life-threatening calls. 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.
Gary Morgan, Deputy Director of Service Delivery for EEAST, said “This is excellent news for members of the public. Having seen the success of the system in other regions in the UK, we are keen to bring the benefits of GoodSAM to the East of England. By connecting a community of appropriately trained and accredited volunteers, our collaboration with GoodSAM has the potential to save lives across the region. By providing quality CPR in the first few minutes following cardiac arrest, we are able to give the patient the best chance of survival. The partnership will not impact on or substitute for standard ambulance or community first responder (CFR) dispatch, with these resources continuing to be sent to scene in the usual way.”
Professor Mark Wilson, neurosurgeon and GoodSAM co-founder, 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. There are first aid trained people are all around us but usually the first they know of a neighbour having a cardiac arrest is an ambulance appearing in their street. If they had known and started CPR a few minutes prior to the ambulance arriving, chances of survival can be considerably increased. GoodSAM now makes this possible, connecting those with the skills to the public in their minute of need.”
How will it work?
When an emergency call is directed to one of our emergency operations centres (control rooms) and 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 EEAST for its own staff and the public with basic life support skills trained to an EEAST 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.
The GoodSAM app uses GPS technology to alert trained first responders to nearby life-threatening emergencies.
Who can volunteer to be a responder?
Initially, EEAST ambulance service staff and medical professionals, such as registered doctors and nurses, will be invited to sign up.
The second project phase will see members of the public and volunteers, including our community first responders, invited to sign up too. Dates to be confirmed.
Want to learn more about the GoodSAM App?
Visit the GoodSAM website for more about the app.