Lives have been saved in the last three months thanks to a new scheme that speeds up medical response times to those in cardiac arrest.
In partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) and GoodSAM, on duty and off duty officers are now alerted via a siren sound from an app on their mobile phone when someone nearby is suffering a suspected cardiac arrest.
It means, if possible, they can respond to the call for help, ensuring the individual receives potentially lifesaving CPR as soon as possible.
Since launching in Herts three months ago, officers have responded to 26 incidents across the county, including a teenager in cardiac arrest, a man who had collapsed in his garden and someone who had been found unresponsive in the road.
In many of these cases the officers were off duty – sometimes responding in the middle of the night and in one case when the officer had just popped out to buy some milk.
Chief Superintendent Dean Patient said: “It is great to see that within the first few months of its launch this scheme, in partnership with our colleagues within the ambulance service and GoodSAM, is having a positive impact on people in Hertfordshire, getting medical help to individuals more quickly and therefore improving their chances of survival.”
The scheme involves frontline officers, PCSOs, Specials and first aid trained staff, who voluntarily attend incidents, when on and off duty. It is also used by other medical professionals such as off duty doctors and paramedics.
The app is on their phone and omits a loud sound when they are within 800 metres of a suspected cardiac arrest patient that has been reported to the ambulance service via 999.
Chief Supt Patient said added: “Colleagues, who have volunteered to be part of this scheme, are often much closer to the patient than the ambulance service and can reach them within minutes to provide initial CPR, which we know greatly increases their chances of survival.
“In some cases, where officers have not been required to provide CPR or other medical intervention because paramedics have already arrived, they have provided other assistance such as gaining access to a property so that emergency care can be administered.”
Nicholas Jones, IM&T Service Delivery Manager (Clinical Applications) with the East of England Ambulance Service Trust (EEAST), said: “We are delighted that this valuable scheme is already helping to save lives by ensuring that seriously-ill patients receive CPR more quickly. It really can make a big difference with a cardiac arrest, as every second counts.
“It’s important to stress that this scheme is not a replacement for an emergency ambulance response, but an additional resource which is helping us to further improve the service we provide to our patients. Our crews are continuing to be dispatched in the same way, and work alongside the GoodSAM volunteer to provide advanced treatment as soon as they arrive on scene, in turn giving the patient the best possible chance of a good outcome.”
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