HOSPITAL chiefs in Hartlepool are urging revellers to take it easy when it comes to boozing over the new year period.
Officials at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have called on people to “know their limits” when it comes to alcohol during the festive party season and to make sure they never drink and drive.
The trust runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool, in Holdforth Road, and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and bosses say “excess drinking” can turn a good time into a “disaster”.
It comes as drinkers in town are being urged to go booze-free for the whole of January.
Andy Simpson, clinical director for accident and emergency at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We all like to have a good time at Christmas and the new year but excess drinking can turn a good time into a disaster which can ruin people’s enjoyment of the festivities and can even ruin lives.
“We want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable Christmas.
“People can do this by knowing their alcohol limits, spacing out their drinking, drinking sensibly and making sure they never drink and drive.”
Hartlepool, meanwhile, is one of 12 local authorities backing a campaign which has been launched by Alcohol Concern and is called Dry January.
The campaign is being supported by the North-East alcohol awareness group Balance as well as health professionals and public bodies in Hartlepool who are championing vintage tea parties and other activities as an alternative to boozy nights out in January.
Balance director Colin Shevills said: “Many of us are guilty of overdoing it a bit in December so we’re asking people in Hartlepool to think about how they plan to start the new year now, before the temptations of Christmas drinking takes hold.
“Drinking more than the recommended limits, on a daily or almost daily basis, can have some serious long term implications for our health, including mouth and breast cancer, heart disease and stroke.
“In the short term, drinking too much can cause anxiety, impotence or even death from alcohol poisoning.”
Balance has joined forces with Hartlepool Borough Council to encourage people in Hartlepool to sign up to Dry January.
They want people to consider different options for socialising where alcohol would usually feature.
Louise Wallace, director of Public Health for Hartlepool, said: “We all enjoy a celebration but people can get carried away and drink far too much over Christmas and into the new year and that does harm their health.
“By taking a rest from alcohol throughout January, people will start to feel a benefit to their health.
“They’ll be able to get a clearer perspective on the amount of alcohol they have been consuming and we hope they will adjust their drinking habits accordingly.”
l It’s your vote: Page 8