Calls for Leeds city centre 'booze bus' to help A&E departments

Sean Emmery, 19, James Skinner, 29, and Steven Yates, 41 of North West Street Medics
Sean Emmery, 19, James Skinner, 29, and Steven Yates, 41 of North West Street Medics
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The North West Street Medics say NHS staff shouldn't be babysitting drunk people.

Volunteers in Leeds are campaigning for a ‘booze bus’ 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 services 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 the 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. 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 he believes there is a lack of education amongst friends and venue staff about it.

He said: “People often tell me that their friend is just drunk but actually, we can see that this person is quite critically ill. They could be concussed or have an underlying medical problem.

“We are medically trained to spot the signs early and that expert eye can, and does, save lives.”

North West Street Medics have helped over 113 people over the last sixth months using 54 foil blankets and over 500 plasters.

A resupply of first aid equipment costs £12.95, a new first aid bag costs £20 and five foil blankets cost £20.

The team hope to raise £10,000 to buy the ex-ambulance 'booze bus' in 2019.

You can visit their Go Fund Me page online at www.gofundme.com/bring-back-leeds-booze-bus