South Central Ambulance Service first to use 'robot paramedic' to perform CPR

  • Cary Johnson went to see the device in action.

South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) is the first in the country to start using a new 'robot paramedic' which can perform CPR on a patient.

The device delivers chest compressions consistently, allowing paramedics the freedom to carry out other vital interventions during an emergency.

Twenty eight of the devices, known as LUCAS 3, will be distributed to crews across Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Hampshire.

Once paramedics arrive and begin CPR or take over from bystanders who may have initiated it, the transition from manual compressions to LUCAS can be completed within seven seconds.

It is an upgraded version of the previous model, LUCAS 2, which clinicians at SCAS evaluated in 2014 as part of the PARAMEDIC trial led by the University of Warwick 

Dr John Black, Medical Director at SCAS, said: “People can become fatigued when performing CPR manually which then affects the rate and quality of compressions and patients may need to be moved from difficult locations, such as down a narrow flight of stairs, or remote places which impedes the process.

“There are also significant safety risks to ambulance personnel being unrestrained and performing CPR in the back of vehicles travelling at high speed.

“It ultimately acts as a robotic third crew member for our teams.”

The new LUCAS 3 uses Bluetooth technology. Credit: South Central Ambulance Service

The device uses Bluetooth connectivity which makes it possible to configure compression rate, depth and alerts specific to an paramedic's resuscitation guidelines.

Professor Charles Deakin, Divisional Medical Director for SCAS and lead for resuscitation, added: “The LUCAS device transforms the management at a cardiac arrest and allows paramedics to focus on the key aspects of clinical care.

“It will be an invaluable part of the team and contribute to the already outstanding results that SCAS has achieved in saving lives of these patients.”