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Street pastors will save NHS £13million during festive period
Street pastors are set to save the NHS millions of pounds as they divert drunks away from A&E during the festive period.
On most British high streets a group of Christians will patrol the night time economy providing support and help for people who have had too much to drink.
Premier has calculated that street pastors will save the health service around £13million in the month of December.
Across the UK there are 300 teams of street pastors in towns and cities and each group helps, on average, 100 people on a Friday and Saturday night.
According to NHS Digital the NHS treated 67,730 people in December 2015 who had been admitted to hospital partly because of alcohol at an average cost of £4296 each.
If each group of street pastors stops just one person from ending up in A&E the NHS will save £12,888,000 over the ten Fridays and Saturdays in December.
Street Pastors "bring added value, not only to the individuals and the community, but they bring added value to the NHS," said Rev Les Isaac OBE, the CEO of Ascension Trust, which runs the Street Pastor network.
He told Premier that in one local authority the council leader told him Street Pastors saved £6,000 in one night alone.
"When you think about that around the country, street pastors and the work that they do are saving the NHS millions of pounds every year," he added.
According to the think tank 2020health out of every ten patients attending A&E at the weekend up to seven are there because of alcohol.
Ailments included broken bones, alcohol poisoning and cuts and scratches.
Figures also show that a fifth of all violent incidents in the country in 2013 and 2014 took place in or around a pub or nightclub. Police figures show that over two thirds of violent incidents take place in the evening or night.
In most towns and cities the street pastors will operate between 10pm and 4am and they will have undertaken extensive training in their own free time.
At least 42 hours of training is provided to make sure local churches and Christians are equipped with the skills to deal with heavily intoxicated people.
When you include everyone involved in the movement, including those who don't work on the streets, there are over 20,000 volunteers.
The government minister with responsibilities for faith told Premier the pastors were "vitally important".
"I'd like to thank them for all that they do," Lord Bourne said.
Newcastle Street Pastors trustee Canon John Sinclair told Premier: "Everywhere we go we're held in high esteem. It's just great when complete strangers come up to you and tell you that you do a great job."
David Burrowes MP, Patron of Street Pastors, told Premier: "They can have a real huge knock on effect and actually prevent many going to another scale of crisis which would then impact upon emergency services."
Premier's Antony Bushfield speaking to Rev Les Isaac OBE:
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