Objective: To implement a government-led project-the 'Defibrillators in Public Places' Initiative-to deploy Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in public places.
Background: A Defibrillator Advisory Committee (DAC) was formed to assist the government with the implementation of the project. Its particular tasks were to: recommend criteria for the selection, training and assessment of those individuals likely to use the devices; procure the equipment necessary for the implementation of the project; procure the training services required for the implementation of the project; ensure the AEDs are sited where they are most likely to be of benefit; establish a mechanism to audit the use of this equipment and the outcome of this initiative. To co-ordinate this project a National Project Manager was appointed. Consultation with Ambulance Services NHS Trusts established the places where cardiac arrest occurred under circumstance where the availability of a defibrillator might be most likely to be effective. Defibrillators were procured under the direction of the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency in conjunction with medical advisors. Devices that were reliable, safe, simple in operation and with good data retrieval systemes were selected. Training contracts were awarded under the direction of the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency in conjunction with medical and educational advisors. Organisations with accredited training experience and possessing the appropriate administrative and data handling abilities were selected. The ability to undertake training in an area concordant with current NHS regions was an essential requirement. In the first stage of implementation, pilot trials were successfully established at sites where persons were willing to be trained in the use of automated defibrillators. Arrangements for national progress of the project were made on the basis of the experience gained at pilot sites. A robust system for monitoring the outcome of the project has been established in partnership with the Resuscitation Council UK. The long-term success of this innovative project requires: Continuing central administrative support in the short to medium term. Central audit and data collection. The results of this project should contribute to national databases being established by the Resuscitation Council UK. Continuing adequate funding. The recognition that the provision of defibrillation to the victims of cardiac arrest is a key feature of the NHS.