SOS medical bus scheme launched in City centre

Local News News

A £55,000 pilot scheme providing an SOS medical bus in Oxford City Centre treated 20 people in its first weekend.
The temporary weekend night service, facilitated by the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS), is intended to help those suffering from minor “alcohol-related injuries and illnesses” over the winter months.
Located on Cornmarket Street, the SOS bus contains onsite treatment beds and provides medical care on Fridays and Saturdays between the hours of 10.30pm and 5.30am.
It is hoped by the SCAS that the pilot scheme, which has received £55,000 in funding from the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, will facilitate the efficient provision of first aid whilst also relieving pressure on A&E.
In its opening weekend the on-duty SCAS paramedic and volunteer first aiders from St John Ambulance treated 20 patients, 13 of whom would otherwise have been forced to attend the emergency department at the John Radcliffe Hospital. Only one patient was transported to the Hospital for further treatment.
Recently it emerged that over 20 per cent of male Oxford University students had visited the John Radcliffe A&E department during their degree – a figure more than double the percentage of the general public in Oxfordshire who have made use of this emergency service.
Speaking about the operation of the scheme, the Operations Director at SCAS, Steve West, remarked: “The bus will also be a safe haven for those who have been found in the street too intoxicated to stand or speak and who cannot find their way home. As such, the bus will work closely with both Thames Valley Police and the Oxford Safer Community Partnership.”
Expressing his “delight” to be supporting the new healthcare initiative, the Direct Manager for St John Ambulance, Craig Heigold, stated: “By providing a mobile treatment centre and trained volunteers we can help ensure that anyone who needs first aid gets it. I’m sure the benefits to those enjoying a night out in the city will be immeasurable.”
OUSU VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, Chris Pike, commented: “It’s encouraging that the SOS bus is being set up, and hopefully will result in more people being treated quickly and efficiently. This helps reduce the burden of alcohol-related injuries on A&E as well as preventing long waiting times in the minor injuries unit.”
The SOS bus pilot scheme launched on Friday 14th November, and is scheduled to run throughout the festive season until March 2015.

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