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SOS bus in the City takes pressure off local hospitals during World Cup

The City of London Police has been deploying an ‘SOS bus’ in the busy area of Liverpool Street, where medically-trained staff, volunteers, and police officers are able to offer assistance to people out in the Square Mile.

The bus was first deployed on Thursday 28 June to coincide with England’s final game of the World Cup group stages, as it was predicted the vast number of pubs and bars in the City would be busier than usual with people wanting to celebrate their progression to the next round. With this in mind, the police came up with a new initiative to keep vital resources on the streets to deal with other incidents, and help their colleagues in the NHS.

Police time saved and unnecessary ambulance calls prevented

The ‘SOS bus’ which was stationed at Liverpool Street was provided by Open Road, a registered charity that provides support for individuals affected by drugs and alcohol.

The specially adapted bus provides on-board healthcare professionals, who can respond to medical emergencies and treat minor injuries and illness, reducing ambulance calls, A&E admissions and police time.

It was estimated that on Thursday evening alone, three A&E admissions to nearby hospitals and three unnecessary ambulance call-outs were prevented, saving the NHS over £1000. 

Non-medical support available on the buses include helping people who are lost, disoriented or separated from their friends get home safely; assisting victims of crime; being a safe haven for those who feel threatened or at risk; and dealing with disputes.

On Thursday, five people were treated and assisted home by the team and water was handed out to members of the public to keep them hydrated in the hot weather.

Further success

The bus was deployed again on Tuesday 03 July when England played Colombia.

On Tuesday, six people were given medical treatment by the 'SOS' team including a diabetic male who had left his insulin at home and felt unwell, and a man who had fallen off his bike and needed stitches. Three people were also given assistance to get home. This work saved the NHS an estimated £2,250 in ambulance call-outs and A&E admissions.

Several hours of police time were also saved, as on four occasions officers would have needed to attend and wait until an ambulance arrived had the SOS team not been there.

Works effortlessly and efficiently

Superintendent Lee Presland from the City of London Police said:

“We are very proud of our thriving night time economy in the City but we are aware that sometimes problems can arise.

“The SOS bus works effortlessly with the police and other local support services, such as street pastors, doormen and security staff, and the LAS, and allows for incidents to be quickly dealt with in the most efficient way.

“It is a brilliant initiative that helps keep everyone who is out enjoying their evening safe whilst reducing any negative impact of the night time economy on businesses and residents of the City.

“However, while the SOS bus is a great resource I would urge those out enjoying themselves to drink responsibly and be mindful of the hot weather.”

Steve Wood, Service Manager at Open Road said: 

“Open Road are delighted to be able to support the emergency services within the Square Mile and showcase the excellent work that the volunteers, staff and medical teams deliver in Colchester and Chelmsford 52 weeks of the year.  

“We brought a team of six volunteers, two staff, and two paramedics from Remote Medic UK to the City and are looking forward to supporting both the public and night time economy for as long as we are needed.”

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