United Kingdom: Mobile booze buses to treat drunken revellers could be rolled out nationwide
By Chris Green, Senior Reporter
March 31, 2015
Mobile “booze buses” to treat drunken revellers could soon become a common sight in towns and cities across England, after a pilot project led to dramatic decreases in A&E admissions and saved the NHS hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Trials of the buses, which provide rapid first aid to people who have got into trouble on a night out, are estimated to have saved the health service £300,000 by reducing the need for ambulance callouts and hospital treatment.
The mobile units, which were placed in Maidstone and Reading town centres, were part of a Government-funded initiative which gave 20 areas around England a share of £1 million to test potential solutions to problem drinking and anti-social behaviour.
Running between March 2012 and September last year, the Alcohol Fund was overseen by Baroness Newlove, whose husband Garry was killed by a gang of youths outside their home in 2007. She has since been made Victims’ Commissioner.
Although decisions on whether to introduce the buses in other towns and cities will be left up to individual councils, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) said other areas “should learn from the successes of the project” and aim to emulate them.
According to the Alcohol Fund’s final report, Maidstone’s Urban Blue Bus helped more than 1,700 people, preventing around 1,000 ambulance callouts and saving the NHS around £250,000.