A joint initiative between the Metropolitan Police and London Ambulance Service started in Croydon this week to help counter low ambulance response rates.
According to figures from the LAS, just six in ten life-threatening calls in Croydon are reached within the target time of eight minutes.
The initiative will see 50 defibrillators placed in police vehicles and stations around Croydon and it is hoped to help counter the low response rate.
The potentially life-saving machines deliver an electric shock to restart a person’s heart and means a potential 12-13 cardiac arrests could be attended to every week.
Chris Hartley-Sharpe, head of First Responders at LAS said: “We know that around 32 per cent of people survive a cardiac arrest in a public place but, where there is a defibrillator and someone trained to use it, the chance of survival can increase to 80 per cent.”
The LAS target response rate of 75 per cent has declined by 10 per cent since March 2014 leaving the service as one of the worst in the country for responding to Category A emergency calls within eight minutes.
Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of Hospitals, said: “This is a serious problem, which the trust clearly isn’t able to address alone, and which needs action to put right.”
This news comes as it was announced that the London Ambulance Service is to be placed in special measures after Care Quality Commission inspectors rated it “inadequate” for failing to meet target response times for emergency calls.
Last year the LAS launched the GoodSAM app, a voluntary service alerting trained medical staff and members of the public with medical training to nearby emergencies.
Alongside increased access to defibrillators it is hoped the GoodSAM app could potentially relieve pressure on the Emergency Services, which is suffering from a national shortage of paramedics.
Mark Wilson, developer of the app and neurosurgery consultant told Eastlondonlines that although still in its early stages, the app is being activated across London 20 – 40 times per day. He said: “It means that patients are better oxygenated and have received earlier / better CPR and defibrillation.”
Borough specific data on the effectiveness of the GoodSAM app will be released in the new year.
The Emergency Services joint initiative will run in Croydon, Ealing and Enfield until May 2016.