Praise for Sunderland booze bus to treat drunken revellers

Mobile medical support bus, which is being launched by Sunderland PCT and which will be used to pick up binge drinkers - Stewart Keenan, unit leader with St John Ambulance inside the special bus...
Mobile medical support bus, which is being launched by Sunderland PCT and which will be used to pick up binge drinkers - Stewart Keenan, unit leader with St John Ambulance inside the special bus...
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A BUS which will treat booze-fuelled revellers has been welcomed by Wearsiders.

The Echo revealed yesterday that the bus will hit the city centre streets this weekend to offer drunken people medical treatment or help getting home.

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The converted ambulance, manned by paramedics and street pastors, is expected to ease pressure on Sunderland Royal Hospital’s A&E department.

The news that the treatment bus will be in Sunderland tomorrow night for the start of a three-month pilot scheme has been mostly welcomed.

Self-employed Kim Cunningham, 55, of The Broadway, said: “I think it’s a good idea. It is quite scary now going in the town, so I think the bus is really good.”

Housewife Joanne McDermott, of Grangetown, agreed the bus will provide a welcome relief for drinkers in the city.

The 41-year-old said: “I think they should do it. It’s definitely a good idea.”

Ann Douglass, 73, of Moorside, believes the unit will provide much-needed support to Sunderland Royal Hospital.

She said: “It’s better than tying up the hospital. It’s a good idea.”

John Lacey and Dan Chappell, both security system engineers, agreed the bus will have positive benefits on the city.

John, 27, of Washington, said: “I think it’s a good idea. It will save on policing and ambulances.”

Dan, 21, added: “I think it could be really good for the city.”

But retired Malcolm Keehan, of Hylton Castle, said the cash spent on the venture would be better spent elsewhere.

The 65-year-old said: “I cannot understand it. There’s more important things to do. Money should be spent on something better, for example children.

“You would have been better getting more police on the beat.”

The bus is the first of its kind in Sunderland and is being launched by NHS South of Tyne and Wear with Safer Sunderland Partnership.

The vehicle is provided by St John Ambulance and will be staffed by a paramedic, fully qualified and experienced St John Ambulance first aiders and trained volunteers from Sunderland Street Pastors.

It will be supervised by Northumbria Police.

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