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North East leaders unite to back vision to reduce smoking

Credit: PA

Plans to cut smoking rates to 5% across the North East by 2025 have been backed by health and local government leaders.

According to North East smoking charity, Fresh,the vision to reduce smoking rates to 5% by 2025 would have a profound impact on the region's NHS and economy - freeing-up around £50 million for the NHS and significantly easing the strain on hospital admissions and GP surgeries, as well as slashing the cost of smoking on local businesses.

Based on the estimated 2025 population, if just 5% of people smoked in the North East it would reduce the annual cost to the region from £158m to £58m.

Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh, said:

While we still see devastation of people's health from smoking, we have a duty to do all that we can to protect future generations from the harm of tobacco by making it a thing of the past.

"This is an ambitious goal, but it is the right one. There are very few families in our region who have not seen someone they love suffer as a result of smoking. We do not want children in theNorth East growing up seeing smoking and the diseases caused by tobacco as a normal part of life.

We have made good progress over the past decade, but smoking is still by far our biggest killer. Although we have along way to go, uniting partners in this forward-thinking vision will help us to realise the end goal of making smoking history for our children.

– Lisa Surtees, Acting Director of Fresh

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust launch new weight management programme

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new weight management programme, which will support its weight loss surgery based at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

The service will provide access to nutritionists, psychologists and physicians and will be used for patients who do not wish to try surgery or those in preparation for surgery.

Dr Paul Peter, a Consultant Bariatric Physician says:

Not everyone is able to have weight loss surgery and indeed not everyone wants to have it. What we can now offer is a medical management programme to complement our surgical service and provide access to different support and expert advice.

We provide a full range of options to help patients manage their weight issues appropriately. As part of the service patients will be seen by physicians for support in dealing with co-morbidities such diabetes and hypertension, for the first 12 weeks of the programme there is weekly support from our nutritionists and dieticians which then continued fortnightly to help educate patients about the right kind of diet to follow.

– Dr Paul Peter, Consultant Bariatric Physician

Wildlife prize for Haltwhistle photographer's brown bear picture

Credit: Steve Wrightson

An amateur photographer from Northumberland has won a prestigious international award for this photo of a bear at night.

Steve Wrightson, from Haltwhistle, has won one of the Scottish Seabird Centre Nature Photography Awards for his shot Evening Bear, with it judged one of the best from a field of over 400 images from all over the world.

He took the photo on a trip to Finland and revealed that he only took up photography five years ago.

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NHS Medical Director to visit new "super hospital" in Cramlington

The new

The Medical Director of NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, will visit Cramlington today to look at the progress of a new "super hospital." The facility, which will open in June, will be the first in the country to be staffed by emergency care specialists 24 hours a day. But campaigners fear A and E departments at neighbouring hospitals will be downgraded.

Sir Bruce will meet some of the doctors and nurses who have helped design the hospital and who will be caring for seriously ill or injured patients from North Tyneside and Northumberland.

Poyet sent to the stand during Sunderland's 1-1 draw

Hull drew 1-1 with visiting Sunderland in another relegation tussle which saw Black Cats manager Gus Poyet sent to the stand following a first-half altercation with Tigers boss Steve Bruce.

Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet is sent to the stands by referee Mike Dean during the Barclays Premier League match at the KC Stadium, Hull. Credit: PA Wire

The two men had to be separated on the touchline after Sunderland's JackRodwell fell in the box after 35 minutes and was booked for simulation by referee Mike Dean.

Poyet complained it was a penalty and after being sent off he walked across to Bruce and tried to shake his counterpart's hand.

Bruce appeared to respond angrily and had to be restrained by a linesman and members of his coaching staff.

Hull City's Andy Robertson and Sunderland's Danny Graham (right) battle for the ball during the Barclays Premier League match at the KC Stadium, Hull. Credit: PA Wire

Dame N'Doye's third goal in five games since his January move from Lokomotiv Moscow gave Hull a 15th-minute lead, the Senegal striker cleverly back-heeling Tom Huddlestone's cross into the net.

But Rodwell earned Sunderland a precious point when he nudged home Patrick van Aanholt's cross on the line with 13 minutes remaining.

The Black Cats host Aston Villa at home on Saturday.

Man held after gas leak causes 34 South Shields homes to be evacuated

Thirty-four homes on a street in South Shields were evacuated this evening after police received a report of a gas leak.

It happened just before 6pm this evening, March 3 at an address on Trinity Walk.

The homes were evacuated as a temporary measure while the property was made safe and all residents returned to their homes within two hours.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and is in police custody.

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