New Cardiac Arrest Alert Scheme Launched

Living Magazines Cardiac arrest alert scheme

Hertfordshire constabulary has launched a new scheme in partnership with the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) and GoodSAM to make sure those suffering cardiac arrest get help as soon as possible.

The Cardiac Arrest Alerting Scheme, which went live last month (May), allows frontline officers, PCSOs, Specials and first aid trained staff to voluntarily attend incidents nearby where somebody is in suspected cardiac arrest so that they can commence early, lifesaving CPR until an ambulance arrives.

Officers are notified via the GoodSAM app on their phone, which omits a loud wailing sound, when they are within 800 metres of a suspected cardiac arrest patient that has been reported to the ambulance service via 999.

The scheme was initially piloted in Cambridgeshire and went live in Bedfordshire in April.

Chief Superintendent Dean Patient said: ‘We are pleased to be involved in this fantastic initiative that undoubtedly has the potential to save lives.

‘While this is a great initiative and could literally be the difference between life or death, it is important to emphasise that we are not doing the work of the ambulance service and ambulances will not be dispatched any differently because of this. With each alert there will already be multiple ambulances on route, however the alert will mean that if a police officer or any other medical professional, such as an off-duty doctor or paramedic, is close by they will be notified.

‘For each minute that passes where CPR is not being given to someone suffering cardiac arrest, chances of survival drop by ten percent and if our officers or a suitably first aid trained staff member are close by they can begin the first aid process and possibly save someone’s life.’

The scheme has already had a positive result in Watford, when an off-duty officer who had just finished his dinner responded to a cardiac alert where he discovered a female had collapsed. He established that she had no pulse and began CPR. When paramedics arrived the patient had regained a pulse and was taken to hospital for further treatment.

Nicholas Jones, IM&T Service Delivery Manager (Clinical Applications) with EEAST, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with our blue light partners at Hertfordshire Constabulary to further roll out this life-saving initiative. It will increase the number of trained first aiders who are able to respond to our most seriously-ill patients and begin delivering CPR until our crews arrive, which can make all the difference with a cardiac arrest where every minute counts.

‘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 in the same way and will 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.’