People with social problems, e.g. drug and alcohol abuse, will soon have the opportunity to get help from a wide range of professionals. The Sociolance responds when vulnerable citizens are in a situation where they need social care.
“We often see that people call for an ambulance for a severely intoxicated person who may be lying on a stoop, sleeping off a heavy night of drinking. In situations like that, the ambulance staff cannot do much more than to stabilise the individual and then leave again,” said Hanne Andersen, chairman of the committee for cross-sectoral collaboration in the Capital Region of Denmark.
Increasing the public’s sense of security
She points out that together the Sociolance staff can determine whether the individual needs further medical attention or if the need is more of a social nature, e.g. a stay at a drop-in centre with a warm bed or follow up social services from the municipality.
The Sociolance will be manned with a paramedic and a social worker with special training.
“The homeless and addicts need all the help they can get. I hope that the Sociolance will increase the sense of security of the vulnerable individuals in our city so that they will receive the correct immediate help when they need it,” said Jesper Christensen, chairman of the Social Affairs Committee.
Will not replace the ambulance service
Hanne Andersen stresses that the Sociolance is not supposed to replace and be dispatched instead of a regular ambulance. However, it is intended to be an additional service in situations where a social response effort is needed.
“It is not a question about whether vulnerable individuals should receive poorer medical treatment. It should be seen as an extra service in those situations where these people are at risk of falling through the cracks,” she said.
The Sociolance is a secondary response unit, whereas the regular ambulance service, police or a local doctor will remain the primary response unit.
In addition to first aid and basic on-the-spot medical treatment, the Sociolance staff can establish contact to relevant health and social services. This could may be drop-in centres, a supportive contact person as well as housing assistance.
Taking care of vulnerable individuals
“Whenever we meet homeless individuals or other vulnerable people on the streets, there is no way of knowing whether they need care or treatment. We are very pleased that with this initiative, we an contribute to ensuring that some of the most vulnerable people in our city are taken care of no matter what they need,” said Søren Knap, head of the ambulance service in the Copenhagen Fire Brigade.
The Sociolance will operate in the City of Copenhagen in the period 1 December 2015 to 31 March 2017, and the project will be regularly assessed throughout the entire period. To begin with, the Sociolance will be on the road at specific times of the day on both weekdays and at weekends.
- The initiation of the Sociolance at the Copenhagen Fire Brigade at Tomsgårdens Fire Station on 1 December 2015.
- To begin with, the Sociolance will operate at specific times of the day on both weekdays and at weekends. Later, the Sociolance will run at a more regular basis depending on where the need is greatest.
- The Sociolance is financed by project funds from the Ministry of Finance’s public pool of funds for 2015-2018, from which DKK 5 million have been allocated for the pilot project in the period of 2015-2016.
- The project is carried out in collaboration with the Copenhagen Fire Brigade, the Social Service Department of the City of Copenhagen and the emergency medical services of the Capital Region of Denmark.
- In addition to municipal and immediate services, the Sociolance is to collaborate with the remaining social, health and voluntary services available.
For further information
- Contact Hanne Andersen (the Social Democrats), chaiman of the committee for cross-sectoral collaboration in the Capital Region of Denmark via Public Relations on mobile phone number: +45 70 20 95 88
- Contact Jesper Christensen (the Social Democrats), mayor of the Social Affairs Committee in the City of Copenhagen via press contact Jesper Nissen on mobile phone number: +45 24 76 54 16
- Søren Knap, head of the ambulance service in the Copenhagen Fire Brigade, on tel. +45 27 24 41 11