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Top tipple tips to stay safe this Christmas

Leave your car keys at home! Credit: PA

An alcohol-awareness group in the North East has issued its top tips for staying safe while having fun this Christmas.

As many people head out on the town and drink more than usual, Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is recommending a number of simple steps party-goers can take to ensure they stay safe, the first of which is to drink responsibly.

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks
  • Eat before you go out
  • Book a taxi to take you home in advance
  • Don’t get in an unlicensed cab
  • Stay with your friends while you are out
  • Make sure you have your mobile phone and it is charged
  • Tell friends and family where you are going and what time you plan to be home.

Every year too many people in the North East are admitted to hospital with alcohol-related problems over the festive period. Not only can excessive drinking spoil the festivities for the people involved and their families, it also puts a huge strain on our emergency services. By drinking sensibly, everyone can play their part in helping to reduce the burden.”

– Colin Shevills, Director of Balance

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Heart girl Chloe - 'new heart is best Christmas gift'

Chloe Beaney, the 14-year-old girl who was given a new heart just over a fortnight ago, has given her first broadcast interview since she underwent the surgery.

Chloe, from Northumberland, was at the top of the transplant list before a donor heart was made available and she had the operation at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital at the end of November.

Speaking to ITV News Tyne Tees, as she continues her recovery in hospital, Chloe expressed her gratitude to the donor whose decision to sign up to the donor register has saved the 14 year old's life.

Watch Ruth Holliday's full report here:

£9m hub for older people approved for South Tyneside

Artist's impression of what the hub will look like Credit: South Tyneside Council

What is being described as a state-of-the-art centre to offer integrated health and social care services for older people in South Tyneside has been given the green light.

South Tyneside Council’s Planning Committee approved plans from South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust to build the £9m facility – which is set to be the biggest of its kind in the UK – on a site at South Tyneside District Hospital.

It will include 80 beds, with around 30 older people living on the site and others accessing beds for short breaks when their carers are on holiday or before going back to live at home.

There will also be rooms for medical consultations and assessments of people’s needs.

This new facility will enable us to offer more support to the Borough’s older population to enable them to live independently in their community for as long as possible. By offering more joined-up services, we will be able to enhance the quality of life for our older people and those who care for them. We know that South Tyneside will see a 50 per cent increase in cases of dementia across all ages by 2030. This figure is predicted to increase to 138 per cent for those over 90 so being able to meet this growing need is critical.”

– Cllr Mary Butler, South Tyneside Coun cil

We are delighted that our plans for the integrated care hub for older people and their families and carers have been approved. We can now forge ahead with the development and realise our joint vision with the Council and key health, social care and voluntary sector agencies of a centre of excellence, providing joined-up care for South Tyneside’s growing ageing population and increasing numbers of people with dementia.”

– Steve Williamson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust

Construction of the new hub is due to start in February.

It is expected to be open in early 2016.

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