NHS bosses are urging party goers not to end their New Year celebrations in a hospital bed.

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Often at this time of year people head to pubs and clubs with their friends and many get carried away by drinking too much.

This leads to people becoming more vulnerable than usual and puts them at risk of getting involved in fights, risky behaviour or being rushed to hospital with alcohol poisoning.

Ambulances and hospital emergency departments are already under great pressure during the winter and this is made worse when people are admitted to emergency departments with conditions caused by alcohol.

Dr Peter Rudge, a GP from Plymouth and chair of the western locality of Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“Most of us enjoy a glass or two as part of the festive celebrations but some people overdo it and find themselves in all kinds of trouble, including ending the night in hospital.

“In the short term, drinking too much alcohol causes people to lose their inhibitions so they may put themselves in dangerous situations or do something they may later regret.

“They may also fall and injure themselves while under the influence of alcohol.

“In the long term, regularly drinking more than the recommended guidelines can increase people’s chances of certain types of cancer, memory loss, brain damage, certain types of stroke and heart and liver disease.

“So our simple message to people is to have fun, but to think before they drink too much this Christmas.”

For those who will have a drink the NHS offers these tips:

• Eat before you go out to reduce the effects of your drinking.

• Drink water regularly during the evening, alternate alcohol with soft drinks or have long mixers with spirits.

• Take a break if you think the drink is hitting you too quickly.

• Don’t try to keep up with friends who drink more than you - that’s their choice.

People who are concerned that they might be drinking too much can use an online confidential alcohol checker here: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Alcoholcalculator.aspx

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