YEP says: Volunteers on the streets of Leeds should be regulated - for their protection as well as others

kind hearted souls who give up their own time to help others should be applauded, and not vilified.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 3:47 pm
Updated Monday, 21st January 2019, 3:51 pm

On the other hand, when you are talking about helping potentially very vulnerable people, then there have to be some checks and balances to protect both the helper and the helped.

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This is absolutely the case with North West Street Medics - a dedicated group who patrol the streets of the city centre from Saturday night until Sunday morning city centre to help those who get very drunk and to keep them away from over-stretched A&E departments when they don’t need medical attention. They were hoping to raise money for a “booze bus” to do even more, and offer minor medical attention, but now concerns have been raised.

It’s not political correctness gone mad to hit “pause” on what they are doing. It seems quite reasonable to take a step back and ask a few questions. Who would be liable if a person was persuaded not to go to A&E by a well-meaning volunteer and was later found to have really needed that medical expertise? What if some vulnerable drunken young man or woman was “helped” by someone pretending to be a street medic - someone who did not have the best of intentions.

Such late-night helpers are a great idea. But they need proper training, regulation and support from other agencies, such as the police and paramedics. 
We hope to see them back on our streets soon- on a more formal footing.