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Roll-out of defibrillator units

News   •   Aug 03, 2017 06:00 BST

[Image of defibrillator unit]

Following a successful trial in four London boroughs - Enfield, Croydon, Havering and Ealing - the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and Metropolitan Police Service have extended an initiative which sees police officers responding alongside ambulance crews to life-threatening emergencies in London.

From Monday, 7 August, the three boroughs will join 10 other boroughs as part of this initiative. Barnet will receive 26 defibrillator units, Hounslow will receive 22 units and Lewisham will receive 20 units.

In London, the average cardiac survival rate is 9 per cent. At Heathrow, the survival rate is 75 per cent thanks to the availability of so many Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) and availability of staff and emergency services personnel to use them effectively.

Working together, the cardiac survival rate will increase and more lives will be saved.

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 our officers to respond to these critical life or death emergency calls."