Lifesaving GoodSAM app made available to Kiwis

A new app is helping to save lives by making sure people having a medical emergency are hooked up with the closest medical help possible.

The creator of the app says it's already saved lives in the UK and has no doubt it will do the same in New Zealand.

If you have a cardiac arrest on the street, for every minute you go without CPR or defibrillation, your chance of survival decreases by 10 percent.

London neurosurgeon Mark Wilson created an app to grab the nearest person with the skills to help save a life.

"We get to a lot of patients who have lost their airway, or have had a period of downtime before they've had CPR before we get there, and what we wanted to do was find a way of alerting people who are trained doctors, nurses, paramedics, off-duty firemen, policemen, to provide care before we got there."

The GoodSAM app works by linking people with medical training to those who need help. A witness or person suffering cardiac arrest raises the alarm, and the nearest registered medic comes running.

"If you can get there and be there 10 minutes before the ambulance arrives that's fantastic," says Mr Wilson.

Every day five New Zealanders suffer a cardiac arrest; only one in six survives.  St John medical director Dr Tony Smith says every minute counts.

"Speed and time is absolutely crucial - in particular the first five minutes are the most crucial - and in that first five minutes if someone gets CPR and someone uses an AED or a defibrillator, that person's chance of surviving is more than doubled."

Trained frontline personnel within St John and Wellington Free Ambulance have been using the app since December, and it's now available to everyday Kiwis willing to make a difference.

"The more people who download the app, the more coverage we will achieve across New Zealand, and the more likely we are to improve outcomes from cardiac arrest," says Dr Smith.

The app is available for free from the Google, Apple and Microsoft app stores. More information is available on the St John website.