Prime Minister David Cameron set to praise Norwich’s ‘innovative’ SOS Bus project in speech on the ‘scandal’ of drunkenness and alcohol abuse in this country

Prime Minister David Cameron is set to praise Norwich's pioneering SOS Bus when he makes a speech later today promising to tackle the 'scandal' of drunkenness and alcohol abuse that costs the NHS �2.7bn a year.

On a visit to a hospital in north-east England, Mr Cameron will make a call for bars, supermarkets and the drinks industry to do more to help ensure responsible drinking.

Meeting doctors, nurses, paramedics and police, Mr Cameron is set to say people in town centres, hospitals and police stations across the UK have to cope with the consequences of alcohol abuse every night and the problem is getting worse.

But he will also highlight 'innovative' solutions, like Norwich's life-saving SOS Bus project which was set up as a safe haven for drunk and vulnerable people in April 2001 following the river deaths of Nick Green, 16, and James Toms, 21, after nights out in the city.

Mr Cameron will say: 'Whether it's the police officers in A&E that have been deployed in some hospitals, the booze buses in Soho and Norwich, or the drunk tanks used abroad, we need innovative solutions to confront the rising tide of unacceptable behaviour.'

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He is also due to outline how the government will set attempt to help emergency services 'rise to the challenge' when laying out its forthcoming alcohol strategy.

For full story see tomorrow's paper.

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