Volunteers in Leeds are campaigning for a ‘booze bus’ parked in the city centre to help keep drunk people away from A&E departments.
North West Street Medics are a team of four who patrol the streets from Saturday night to Sunday morning helping anyone who needs medical attention.
One of their main goals is to replace the need for emergency service call outs by being on-hand to give immediate care to anyone with minor injuries.
The initiative is funded entirely by team members but they are now trying to fundraise £10,000 to buy an old ambulance, nicknamed the booze bus.
Sean Emmery, 19, is a student nurse in Huddersfield and Clinical Team Leader for the organisation.
He says the booze bus will help the team carry more equipment, give them more room to treat people and give the patients more dignity in a safe environment. He also says it will keep them away from A&E departments.
He said: “Quite often people are fine and just need to sober up. However, if they are slumped on the side of the road then usually someone will call an ambulance. The booze bus will give us the space to let them sleep it off instead.
“This will hopefully prevent a lot of hospital admissions. We don’t want drunk people taking up an A&E bed that someone else could need for a heart attack.
“We’re facing winter pressure as it is. NHS staff are not there to be babysitting people who have had too much to drink.”
However, Sean also warns that there are serious risks that come with drinking and that there is a lack of education about it.
He said: “People often tell me that their friend is just drunk but we can see that this person is critically ill. They could be concussed or have an underlying medical problem.
“When people have been drinking they sometimes don’t know that they need help and can get aggressive. I’ve been kicked, punched, spat on. It’s not something that should be part of the job - but it does happen.
“This is why we started the team. We are medically trained to spot the signs early. That expert eye can, and does, save lives.”
HOW TO HELP THE MEDICS
North West Street Medics have helped over 113 people in the last six months. They have used 54 foil blankets and over 500 plasters.
The organisation has set up a Go Fund Me campaign to fundraise for more medical supplies.
A resupply of a first aid kit costs £12.95, 5 foil blankets cost £3 and a first aid bag costs £20.
An average weeks worth of care is approximatley £10.
They hope to raise £10,000 to purchase the old ambulance ‘Booze Bus’ in 2019.