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South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) is delighted to announce the return of the Oxford SOS Service to help NHS and emergency services across the city cope with the peak winter and Christmas demand from patients.

The SOS service will be operating from a dedicated Jumbulance vehicle (large ambulance) every Friday and Saturday night (10:45pm to 5:00am) from Friday 9 November to Sunday 6 January 2018 (5am) in Oxford City Centre.

An additional service will also run on New Year’s Eve.

Launched in November 2014, the SOS Service is highly valued by SCAS, Oxford Street Pastors, Thames Valley Police and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust because it provides additional medical provision in the city centre which reduces 999 responses and A&E presentations for alcohol related incidents.

In 2017/18 when the service ran from early November to early January, there were 63 patients who presented themselves at the SOS Service ambulance for treatment (compared to 18 for the same period 2016/17). Of these, just 14 required further treatment and/or assessment at the John Radcliffe Hospital; which meant the SOS team were able to deal with over three-quarters (78 per cent) of patients at the scene who might otherwise have gone to A&E or called 999.

Craig Heigold, Paramedic Team Leader at SCAS and Oxford SOS Project Lead, said:

“The SOS Project provides a valuable service at a time of peak demand – Friday and Saturday nights – for all local NHS and emergency services in Oxford City Centre. I’m delighted that Oxfordshire CCG has once again agreed to fund the service. By doing so we can reduce the demand on our colleagues at A&E, as well as ensure that more Oxfordshire SCAS staff and vehicles are free to respond to non-alcohol related illnesses and injuries elsewhere in the city and surrounding areas. We can also provide a faster and more effective response to patients in the city centre who need us.”

The SOS Service is located in the Cornmarket and is available every Friday and Saturday night from 22.45 to 05.00. The service operates from a dedicated larger than normal ambulance, and this year every operational shift will be run by an expanded team of two SCAS paramedics, along with an emergency care assistant or associate ambulance practitioner, as well as the valuable support from local community first responders.

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