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November 9, 2020 | in News

Ambulance Victoria is pleased to announce its GoodSAM program will safely be reactivated to all responders in metropolitan Melbourne from this Monday (November 9).

Ambulance Victoria’s Executive Director of Clinical Operations Associate Professor Mick Stephenson said the program had been operating on a restricted basis due to COVID-19.

“At Ambulance Victoria, the safety of our people, volunteers and patients is paramount,” Associate Prof. Stephenson said.

“At the start of the pandemic, little was known on the impact of performing CPR in the community with the presence of COVID-19. That’s why we made the decision in March to suspend GoodSAM alerts from being sent to non-operational AV employees and the wider GoodSAM community.

“We were very pleased to safely reactivate GoodSAM in regional Victoria last month (October 16) due to low rates of transmission, and now with only four active COVID-19 cases in metropolitan Melbourne, we’re able to turn alerts back on state-wide.”

Associate Prof. Stephenson said a 50 per cent decline in cardiac arrest survival rates during the first wave of COVID-19 was not materially impacted by the restricted deployment of GoodSAM.

“Our research showed there were multiple factors for this decrease – mainly due to paramedics taking two minutes longer to defibrillate as they need to apply PPE before responding. More cardiac arrests are also occurring in the home and this has meant less public defibrillation prior to ambulance arrival,” he said.

“While GoodSAM is an important element of our strategy to drive continued improvement in cardiac arrest, not one factor can be blamed for the decrease in cardiac arrest survival at this time.”

Recent international evidence backed by the Australian Resuscitation Council suggests that bystander CPR can be safely performed during the pandemic if guidelines are followed.

“Our GoodSAM responders will be directed to perform compression-only CPR and not using rescue breaths,” Associate Prof. Stephenson said.

“Like all Victorians, they will always wear masks and place a mask or cloth on the face of the person in cardiac arrest, similar to infection control measures used by paramedics.”

“With 3 in 4 cardiac arrests happening at home, we urge all Victorians to call Triple Zero (000) immediately and the ESTA call taker will talk you through CPR. All Victorians can also learn how to do CPR and know where their nearest Automated External Defibrillator is located by visiting our website today.”