GoodSAM saves its first life - and we'll make sure this is the first of many

GoodSAM is a smartphone app that alerts first-aiders to nearby medical emergencies.

Through the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund, Nesta and the Cabinet Office have supported the London Ambulance Service to integrate GoodSAM into their 999 systems. This means that, if a 999 call is made for a suspected cardiac arrest in London, nearby GoodSAM registered first-aiders are automatically alerted.

Last month we had confirmation that, for the first time, GoodSAM has helped to save a life.

As reported in Ambulance Today, Rachel Love and Andrew Larby were running a training session for community first responders Bromley ambulance station, when they were alerted to the cardiac arrest at a nearby church hall via GoodSAM.

The pair rushed to the scene to find a 53-year-old man being given cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by another member of the taekwondo club. They used the automated external defibrillator (AED), which they had with them because of the training session, to deliver an electric shock to the man’s heart.

They then administered five more rounds of CPR which revived the casualty just as London Ambulance Service paramedics arrived at the scene. The casualty was taken to hospital where he made a good recovery after undergoing angioplasty. He was fit enough to return to work in London last week.

There are over 8000 registered GoodSAM responders across the UK. These are often medical professionals like Rachel and Andrew, but they are also people like me who have a First Aid at Work qualification.

If you have a first aid qualification, please download the app and register. We are all potential life savers.

Last week, I was told by someone working for an ambulance trust that now that technology like GoodSAM has been invented, they cannot ethically refuse to use it.

That’s why Nesta and the Cabinet Office are also helping the North West Ambulance Service and the East Midlands Ambulance Service integrate GoodSAM into their 999 systems. Both of these trusts should be live before the end of the year. And through our Accelerating Ideas fund, Nesta and the Big Lottery Fund are helping GoodSAM to scale nationwide.

We want to ensure that everyone in the UK has the best chance of surviving a medical emergency. This will be first of many lives saved by GoodSAM.

Image credit: Ivan Bandura, Creative Commons license.


Mandeep Hothi

Mandeep Hothi

Mandeep Hothi

Senior Programme Manager, Innovation Lab

Manny worked on the Centre for Social Action Innovation Fund. His focus was on scaling digital ventures that get people involved in social action. He also led our work on Digital Publi…

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