The Plymouth Safe Bus was at Derry’s Cross on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and has been deployed to make sure people are seen quicker and receive treatment for minor issues there and then rather than being taken to Derriford emergency department. It follows on from an earlier pop up triage tent that was introduced a few weeks ago.
Deputy leader of the Council, Councillor Patrick Nicholson, who is also responsible for health and adult social care said: “Having the safe bus in the city centre is even more important than ever, particularly given the extreme pressures our hospital is currently facing.
“We want people to go out and enjoy themselves safely. We would all rather people did not drink so much, but we are being realistic and planning for it. If it helps take the strain off our NHS colleagues, it has got to be worth doing.”
Dave Moore, the city’s licensing officer said: “Over the first two weekends the team dealt with 45 people coming in suffering anything from too much alcohol to cuts and other injuries. That’s 45 people that did not end up in the emergency department or in ambulances or police cars. It meant our teams could get back on patrol and keeping an eye on what is happening on our streets.
The Plymouth Safe Bus is serviced and maintained free of charge by Plymouth Citybus, who originally re-fitted and painted the bus for free They are also supplying drivers free of charge to get the bus to and from the site.
The bus has been made possible thanks to a partnership between Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Citybus, Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon Clinical Commissioning Group who funded the scheme.
It is staffed by trained paramedics from the Alliance Pioneer Group, meaning no staff from either the hospital or the ambulance service are taken away from their core.
The bus can also be a safe zone for people who may have lost their group of friends while out and about, or who feel a bit unsettled or worried by something.
The aim is to have the bus in the city centre on key nights including Freshers’ Week, Hallowe’en, the run up to Christmas and other key dates.