By learning CPR and using your skills in an emergency, you're giving the person their best chance of survival.
Recently I met Mark Wilson, the Co-Founder and Director of GoodSAM App. The app is revolutionising emergency care as it is both a technology platform and a community of life savers. I also met with St John Ambulance, who offer a large network education in first aid, and training to volunteers to further spread awareness of live-saving action. For both GoodSAM and St John Ambulance, and with a new Hillingdon Hospital and Medical School at Brunel, I know my constituents in UXSR will benefit from scrapping the VAT levied on defibrillators, which is why I back Scrap the Heart Restart Tax, a campaign by the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA).
The cardiac and alerter feature, which has an emergency button that when pressed, the nearby people who are able to perform basic life support and use an Automated External Defibrilatior (AED) can attend to help a cardiac arrests occurring near them. Cardiac arrest survival at Heathrow Airport is 80%, which compares to 9% on the streets of London. The difference is access to AEDs at every other gate and someone starting high quality CPR within minutes of arrest because all air crew are trained. GoodSAM’s plan is to use the technology of the app to achieve this everywhere because you are never more than 300 metres from someone who can perform high quality CPR and use an AED.
GoodSAM has also mapped the largest AED Registry across the world – over 50,000 and more! Many first aiders, off duty CFRs and others carry an AED in their vehicle. Responders can state they have an AED with them, which automatically tracks them as a Responder and AED unit. In London, 900 police cars (and counting) carry AEDs and Taxi drivers with specific training also carry them. The vast majority of unmapped AEDs are in the boots of people’s cars – GoodSAM tracks more than 1000 at any one time.
GoodSAM can be used for an instant dispatch of staff and community first aid responders to any number of emergencies, in addition to cardiac arrest. The mapping feature can enable real-time location of staff and resources, even those off duty.
There is an instant communication push-to-talk radio, which allows the user to send a real time auto message that automatically plays on their phone. For example, an ambulance service can use this function to alert all staff in a major incident.
With GoodSAM video, you can video the patient so the trained staff can see the scene and make a decision to intervene. The video feature can also reveal the percentage of damage to the patient, the location and measure the pulse.
GoodSAM also delivers AEDs by drone. To find out more visit www.goodsamapp.org.
St John Ambulance ‘Three Ways to Save a Life’ Training
With 30,000 people in the UK experiencing an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and only 1 out of 10 surviving, the charity St John Ambulance focuses on community first aid; upskilling and supporting communities to act quickly and confidently if first on the scene.
As part of the charity’s commitment to empowering communities in pre-hospital care, St John trains 250,000 people every year and works with thousands of young people from the ages of 5 to 25 teaching them first aid, building confidence and helping develop their compassion and leadership skills to become life savers and healthcare professionals of tomorrow. By creating a youth movement, St John wants every child to feel confident using first aid by the time they are an adult.
St John is already visible in towns and cities across England through their dedicated volunteers. In 2022, they gave 477,000 hours of first aid cover enabling thousands of events - from marathons and football matches to festivals and fireworks celebrations - to go ahead safely. The charity also responds to the needs of the elderly and frail in their homes and works alongside night time economy services to treat those who may require medical assistance when out at night, enabling them to get home safely. Often, such incidents are treated at the scene and patients do not need to go to hospital.
As the nation’s ambulance auxiliary, St John’s volunteers support the NHS and local communities by providing extra resource to reduce pressure on health services. St John Ambulance wants to build a positive legacy for the nation’s resilience by collaborating with other voluntary sector organisations within national and local resilience arrangements to improve health outcomes and to empower communities to deploy volunteers at times of crisis.
St John people know that community first aid saves lives. Visit sja.org.uk for details of volunteering opportunities and more, including how your donations make St John Ambulance’s work possible.
British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA)’s Scrap the Heart Restart Tax
A person in the UK has an 8% chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and this can increase to 70% if early defibrillation is given. That said, the median distance from a defibrillator in any UK postcode is 726m.Local authorities, the NHS and some specific charities are exempt from the 20% VAT on defibrillators. Community groups, all other charities, organisations and small businesses have to pay the added tax, which can be as high as £500 per device.
Removing the VAT from defibrillators would help to increase affordability – for every five defibrillators fundraised by a local community group or sports club, there could be six.
That is why I’m joining the BHTA’s Scrap the Heart Restart Tax campaign and I call for the tax to be removed to increase the affordability of vital devices and save lives.
To find out more visit hearttax.co.uk.