It is a Friday night in central London and we
join Student Paramedic Tom Lemon on the alternative response
Tom: “It’s affectionately known as the ‘booze
We see shots of London as the ‘booze bus’
drives around the West End and then we’re back on board at the
beginning of the shift.
Tom: “We put these on the chairs for people
who vomit, and have a bag ready to hand to catch their sick in.
“This bus works three nights a week and picks
up about 40 people a weekend, so yeah, they’re sick quite a
Tom takes a call from the control room.
“Twenty-four-year-old female who is
“That was the first call of the night which
was a 24 female outside a pub, collapsed. Yeah they don’t get in to
a very pretty state – just because of alcohol. Just because of
drinking too much.”
The ‘booze bus arrives at the patient who is
on the pavement outside. We see a crowd of people and blue flashing
Tom: “She’s just drunk a lot too quickly has
she? Has she had dinner tonight, or is that what’s all around the
“Hello, Nicola? Nicola, The ambulance is here
The patient is helped on board by Tom.
“Have a seat over here, there we go. You need
to stay awake and answer some questions Alright? Sit yourself
Staff help the patient and take some
Tom (voiceover): “If somebody’s had too much
to drink it’s their own fault and its self induced. What they need
is to be taken to a place of safety and observed, to make sure they
don’t get into any danger.
The ambulance crew continue to help the
Tom: “Nicola’s obviously had a lot to drink,
at least a bottle of wine, a number of alcopops and shooters which
she’s drank at quite high speed and this is the desired effect
Paramedic: “It’s not the desired effect, its
A paramedic is on the phone.
“Do you want us to contact you when she gets
there, will you be going to the hospital?2
“That was her mum I spoke to. She said give
her a call when we get to the hospital.”
Tom: “Are they going to meet us there?”
Paramedic: “I think she’s going to make her
way down there yeah.”
Tom is filling out some paperwork.
Tom: “Are you alright Nicola? If you feel sick
there’s a bag in front of you.”
We see the ‘booze bus’ arrive at hospital
through its windscreen. Tom and his colleague help the patient off
the bus and into a wheelchair.
Tom “We’re going to take you in, are you going
to help us out? Stand up, that’s it. Open your eyes, look where
The patient is taken off towards A&E.
Tom (to camera): “Now we’re going to get
her handed in to the nurses and go and do another one.”
The phone rings.
“And here’s another one.”
Tom is sat in the back of the booze bus talking to camera as they
head to another call: “We get a lot of problems with ketamine, GHB,
methadrone. Ketamine’s the prevalent one with the rave culture at
the moment which is a horse tranquiliser. Doesn’t sound like a lot
of fun, but apparently to some people it is.”
We see a patient in the street being wheeled
into the ‘booze bus’ on a trolley bed.
Tom : “The phone just keeps ringing, and we
keep picking people up trying not to get vomit on ourselves.”
The crew help a female patients on to the
Tom: “Right Abi, big step up now. That’s it.
Sit yourself there. Stop with that kicking, alright. The bag is
around your neck, so if you’re going to be sick be sick in that not
on our bus.”
Tom (to camera) “We’ll get another call, and
another call, and another call until we’v3e got a bus full of drunk
people with bags around their necks…”
The phone rings
Tom “Here we go again.”
Tom tries to get some details from the
Tom: “Abi, what’s your date of birth