THE FIRST Stop Bus will be out on New Year’s Eve offering a first port of call for people who find themselves in need of help.
The town centre medical facility will be positioned in Broad Street from 9pm to 3.30am to help ensure partygoers get a good start to the New Year.
Reading’s FIRST Stop Bus is celebrating its four year anniversary this December. The bus, which is contracted by Reading Council and run by a local charity, The Mustard Tree, is vitally supported by, and could not work without, its partner organisations, including Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), Reading BID, Reading Street Pastors and Reading Voluntary Action.
The bus team of trained volunteers, medical staff and first aiders, work with street pastors, venue doormen, the police, SCAS and A&E to ensure that any issues can be quickly assessed and dealt with.
A team provide a wide range of assistance such as treating injuries from falls, wound assessment and tending cuts. They also help with illnesses or offer a safe place to rest to anyone who is emotionally distressed.
The bus is designed to help ease the burden on under-pressure A&E departments which are regularly dealing with extremely high levels of demand.
Since its launch in December 2013, figures reveal that the First Stop Bus has had a major positive impact on wellbeing in the town.
In the last year, the bus’s medical staff and trained volunteers have helped 250 people with physical injuries and 66 in emotional distress.
Since it launched, the bus’s medical staff and trained volunteers have helped over 1,200 people with physical injuries or in emotional distress. 91% of these requiring some form of medical assessment or treatment. 83% of the people treated by SCAS staff on the bus would have otherwise required an ambulance call out or a trip to A&E. This roughly equates to a saving of £125,500 to the NHS since December 2013.
Reading’s Lead Member for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Liz Terry, said:
“I continue to be impressed with the hard work and commitment of the FIRST Stop Bus partners and volunteers. The bus has helped to keep people safe and well and is an asset to Reading’s night time economy. I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!”
John Davies, The Mustard Tree’s Director of Operations, said: “We want to ensure that people can have a safe and enjoyable night out, but should something happen such as an injury or sudden illness; the FIRST Stop Bus is here to help.”
Penny Meadley, Specialist Paramedic Manager, SCAS, added: “By working effectively with our partners and having a SCAS clinician on board every Friday and Saturday night, we can quickly and effectively treat those who attend with medical complaints, minor injuries and those affected by excess consumption of alcohol. It is making a significant contribution to reducing the pressure on A&E and the ambulance service.”
No two shifts on the FIRST Stop bus are the same, and volunteering on the bus provides the opportunity to work with the emergency services and to develop new skills. For more details on volunteering, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 0118 937 3787.
The FIRST Stop Bus is contracted through Reading Borough Council to The Mustard Tree, a local charity www.themustardtree.org/first-stop-bus.
It is a partnership between The Mustard Tree, Reading Borough Council, Reading Local Strategic Partnership, Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS), The Department for Communities and Local Government and the NHS.
The project is also supported by a number of local organisations, including Reading Buses, Reading University, Reading BID, Reading Football Club, Reading Voluntary Action and the Street Pastors.
FIRST Stop stands for First Aid; Information; Refuge; Safety; Treatment.