Pharmacists on Teesside have welcomed new measures aimed at giving them greater powers to prescribe drugs.
Under the plans, nurses and pharmacists will be able to prescribe any licensed medicine for any medical condition - traditionally the role of GPs
The extension means pharmacists will be able to prescribe independently for their local community.
Specialist nurses running diabetes and coronary heart disease clinics will be able to prescribe for their patients.
The aim is to take pressure off GPs, allowing them to focus on more complex cases and improving the availability of care for patients.
Kurt Ramsden, area spokesman for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said the plans were good news for the industry.
"Pharmacists and nurses will be able to manage patients' conditions with minimum intervention from a GP," he said.
"Under the plans, the GP can be relieved of the burden of prescribing so they can focus some on their area of expertise, which is diagnostics.
"It will be more accessible for patients. …