London Ambulance Service hails the Camden ‘Booze Bus’ as a success

The London Ambulance Service is hailing the trial of an alternative response vehicle – or ‘Booze Bus’ – in Camden as a success.

Staffed by three London Ambulance Service personnel the ‘Booze Bus’ has been working in a small area of Camden on Friday and Saturday nights from 7pm until 7am since the beginning of December. The three-month trial will now see the bus run every night until Christmas Eve before resuming at weekends.

Since the trial began the ‘Booze Bus’ has picked up 22 patients easing demand on A&E departments and frontline ambulance services. That means the Service can respond faster to emergency calls because ambulances aren’t being diverted to deal with people who’ve had too much to drink.

Ambulance operations manager Kevin Brown said: “The early signs are that the Camden vehicle has been a great success. It means we can treat people for minor injuries and illness resulting from too much alcohol without having to take them to A&E departments and we can talk to them about the dangers of drinking.

“It also means that our frontline resources and A&E staff aren’t tied up dealing with people who are worse for wear. The dedicated team can respond to alcohol-related 999 calls in the Camden area thereby freeing up ambulances to deal with genuine life-threatening emergencies.”

The ‘Booze Bus’ will run in the Camden area until February before the service starts again in the summer months.

With alcohol-related 999 calls increasing by 16 per cent since 2006/07 in the Camden Primary Care Trust area, the ‘Booze Bus’ is seen as an important tool in easing demand on the Service at its busiest time of the year. However, there are a number of things that people can do to help themselves:

Eat before drinking to help soak up alcohol
Have at the least the odd soft drink to keep yourself hydrated
Try to keep track of what you’ve had

And very importantly…
Plan your journey home: Don’t leave it to chance – think about how you’re going to get home, and who with, before you go out.
Keep an eye on your friends – make sure that no one gets left behind, as these are the people who we can often be called to help

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Notes to editors

  • For further information about this news release please contact the communications department on 020 7921 5113.
  • The ‘Booze Bus’ is staffed by one paramedic, one emergency medical technician and one A&E support worker.