An initiative led by London Ambulance Service and Metropolitan Police Service, which sees defibrillators added to over 700 police response vehicles and police stations across the capital, began rolling out on 10 July.
The life-saving equipment will allow police officers to respond to life-threatening emergencies alongside ambulance crews and see even more public access defibrillators on London’s streets.
Chris Hartley-Sharpe, Head of First Responders at London Ambulance Service, said, “Every second counts when someone is in cardiac arrest. The only way to restart a heart is with a defibrillator so the sooner one arrives with someone trained to use it, the better the outcome for the patient. While we will always send an ambulance response as a priority, by working together with the police service we can ensure patients in cardiac arrest receive vital treatment as quickly as possible.”
As part of the initiative, police officers equipped with defibrillators, who are available to respond, will be alerted to a potential cardiac arrest at the same time as ambulance crews, which means that if they reach the patient first, or are already on scene, they can begin providing life-saving treatment until a skilled clinician arrives.
Based on results from the pilot, it is estimated the scheme could save dozens of lives each year.
Sue Warner, Strategic Health & Safety Adviser from the Metropolitan Police Service, said, “We are delighted to be working with the London Ambulance Service to save lives across London. Equipping our response team vehicles and station offices with this essential life saving equipment will enable over 1320 officers to respond to these critical life or death emergency calls.”
This initiative is the latest to be supported by the London Ambulance Service to increase cardiac arrest survival rates in the capital. Between 2012 and 2017 the number of public access defibrillators in London has increased by 350 percent following work by the service to raise awareness and availability of defibrillators.
Recently, the service embarked on an exciting new partnership with the acclaimed GoodSAM app, in which clinically trained ambulance staff and members of the public trained to an approved standard are able to sign up as volunteers to respond to life-threatening emergency calls, including cardiac arrests.