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Drink-driving awareness events begin

Sunderland is hosting a series of events to cut drink-driving Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A week of events to highlight the dangers of drinking and driving begin in Sunderland this morning.

The campaign, called Don't Cancel Christmas, will allow passers-by to test their knowledge of how alcohol affects their abilities behind the wheel.

The event, in the city's Market Square, continues until Saturday 14th December.

"We are all road users, whether as a driver, pedestrian or cyclist so are all potential victims of motorists who become erratic, careless and dangerous behind the wheel when they've had a drink.

What this latest campaign seeks to do, is to get these very serious messages across in a more accessible way through getting people to test their knowledge in more light-hearted ways."

– Cllr Michael Mordey, Sunderland City Council

Norovirus - what to do if you have symptoms

Norovirus infection is a common cause of gastro-enteritis. The onset of illness is often sudden and severe with projectile vomiting. Some people also have diarrhoea. The symptoms normally last for 24-48 hours after which the person will feel lethargic and washed out. Public Health England’s advice for people who think they may have norovirus or winter vomiting is:

  • Norovirus infection is a self-limiting illness and you will usually recover naturally without treatment. It is, however, important to take plenty of drinks to replace lost fluids.
  • Visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk for advice on how to manage your symptoms at home or help to access the most appropriate health service.
  • If symptoms persist, ask for a telephone consultation with your family doctor. Try to avoid visiting your GP surgery or local A&E Unit as you may pass the infection on to others.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and regularly at all times, but particularly after using the toilet and before eating.
  • Do not visit friends or relatives in hospitals or residential care homes until you have fully recovered and have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours as there is a real risk that you would introduce the infection into these communities putting vulnerable people at risk.
  • Stay away from work or school until you have fully recovered and been free of symptoms for 48 hours.
  • Do not handle or prepare food for other people until you have been free of symptoms for at least 48 hours.

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Norovirus outbreaks hit six North East hospitals

Health organisations in the North East are urging people suffering from vomiting or diarrhoea not to visit people in hospitals and care homes to limit the spread of norovirus.

Figures released by Public Health England show there were six hospital outbreaks in the North East in the last two weeks of November, all resulting in bed closures.

‘Norovirus – also known as the winter vomiting bug - is highly infectious and can spread rapidly in communities such as hospitals, care homes, sheltered housing accommodation and schools. That’s why it is so important not to visit family and friends – as well as staying away from your workplace - until you have been free of symptoms for 48 hours. Of course, if you are very ill you should seek medical help. Noroviruses cause a very unpleasant but generally short-lived illness from which healthy people usually recover without treatment. But it can cause more serious illness in the very young, elderly people and those with chronic illnesses.’

– Dr Deb Wilson, PHE North East

Professor welcomes £20m funding for research

John Burn , the professor of Clinical Genetics at Newcastle University, has welcomed news in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement that there will be £20m of new funding into research in Newcastle.

The money will go towards investigating the effects of an ageing population on the NHS.

Click below for Professor Burn's comments.

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Newcastle lawyer helps terminally ill, free of charge

A lawyer from Newcastle is helping terminally ill cancer patients to sort out their legal affairs for free.

Meg Kirby was inspired when her father was in hospital because she saw how other patients were struggling to write a will or manage their debts.

Most of her charity's clients have less than 12 months to live.

It's just incredibly sad that maybe shortly thereafter the patient might not be here much longer.

So it is heart wrenching from that point of view, but I suppose it's a major reward in the sense that, that patient might never have got that support had you not been there to help them.

– Meg Kirby, Founder of Legacare

MP criticises Cologne police over 'murder' of Northumbria student

Jane Khalaf died after her drink was allegedly spiked with ecstasy during a carnival in Germany. Credit: Mercury Press

A British woman was murdered after having her drink spiked, a Labour MP has claimed as he criticised German police for not investigating the death.

Nineteen-year-old Jane Khalaf reportedly died on November 20, eight days after she was put on a life-support machine after collapsing at Cologne's St Marien Hospital.

Read More: Northumbria student dies after 'drink spiked' on a German exchange trip

Speaking in the Commons, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman hit out at the handling of the case by police in Cologne as he called for help from the Foreign Office.

Raising a point of order following Foreign Office question time, Mr Sheerman told Speaker John Bercow:

I wonder if you could give me some guidance. A young girl in my constituency has been tragically murdered in Cologne.

There is no police investigation although there is every evidence that her drink was spiked - she was poisoned.

There has been no police investigation and no help for the family. There's not another Foreign Office questions for another month. How do you advise me that I can raise this issue in the House?

– Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman

Mr Bercow replied that Mr Sheerman could write to a Foreign Office minister, adding: "You have effectively raised your point through ruse of the use, and some would say the rather gentle abuse, of the point of order procedure. Foreign Office ministers will have heard your utterance."

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