“THE booze bus saved my life.” So says a grateful Sunderland reveller who visited the latest addition to the city centre night-time scene.
A mobile treatment centre, manned by paramedics and street pastors, aims to assist those who have had one too many and ended up injured or unable to get home, so reducing the pressure on A&E.
Nicknamed “the booze bus”, it did even more than help out casualty for Kevin Logan, of Penshaw.
He boarded the treatment bus during a night out after battling throat problems.
After checking him over, staff suspected there was something seriously wrong and urged Kevin to seek hospital treatment.
Doctors told him he had lung cancer and the 52-year-old has now started treatment to fight the disease.
“I was short of breath so I came into the bus on a night out. They told me if it kept up to come back.
“They looked me over and said it could be something more and that I needed to see a doctor.”
But brave Kevin has vowed to fight the disease and has thanked quick-thinking staff for saving his life.
“The doctor told me I have lung cancer,” he said.
“I’m lucky that they caught it earlier and I wouldn’t have known if it hadn’t been for them.”
Kevin popped back to the booze bus, but this time to say thanks to its staff for their invaluable guidance.
The scheme launched in June to help booze-fuelled revellers who need basic medical health.
People can come to the bus with minor injuries and receive treatment, freeing up A&E for more serious cases.
Kevin added: “I owe these people so much, they are doing a mint job.
“I wanted to say thank you to them and tell them to keep up the good work.”
St John ambulance district manager Tony Brewis, 36, said the close knit team of staff have helped treat a series of people - 15 that would have otherwise gone to A&E unnecessarily.
“Most nights we treat more than five people,” said the 36-year-old.
“The majority of people are happy that the bus is here and someone has come up to thank us.”
And Tony said that he hopes the bus can continue past it’s trial period of three months.
“Hopefully it will become a more permanent fixture in town so we can continue to help people in the town on their nights out.
“I can fully understand the enjoyment of a night out in Sunderland, and we are here to help those people who may end up needing our services,” added Tony.