After a successful trial involving converted buses with on-board clinics equipped to treat the most common alcohol-related injuries, the NHS plans to roll out the vehicles nationwide in a move that could save the taxpayer millions of pounds.
With emergency services routinely using words such as “carnage” and “war-zone” to describe the state of British city centres on any given weekend, it is hardly surprising that the ambulance service can field thousands of emergency calls related to excessive alcohol consumption every night. In many cases the cost of ferrying hundreds of injured, and sometimes abusive drunks from city centres to hospitals has become prohibitive, so the new scheme seeks to treat them in situ.
The trials, which ran between March 2012 and September 2014 are estimated to have saved £300,000, and roll out to other towns and cities could save even more. Despite being described as a “relatively calm” town on Friday nights, the Maidstone double-decker bus alone saved 1,000 ambulance journeys during the trial, reports The Independent. Operating on Friday and Saturday nights, it doubles as an education resource visiting schools by day.
Although these were the first trials of dedicated ‘booze buses’, the London Ambulance Service has had one of their own since 2011. Operating a regular ambulance on dedicated alcohol duties rather than a converted double-decker bus, the vehicle was adapted for the three-nights-a-week by providing plastic bags for vomiting patients and disposable seat covers.