Local chemists should be allowed to do more to support GPs in tackling major public heath concerns such as obesity, according to a new study.
Research by Durham University has found almost nine out of 10 people in the UK live within a 20-minute walk of a chemist.
In highly deprived areas, closer to 100% of households are an easy walk from a pharmacy.
This accessibility, plus the lack of need for an appointment, means pharmacists are ideally placed to offer over-stretched GPs greater support on issues such as obesity, excess drinking and smoking, according to the experts behind the research.
The findings go against the often-quoted "inverse care law", which states good medical facilities are most easily available to those who need them least.
More top news
An ejector seat manufacturer is to be prosecuted over the death of Red Arrows pilot Sean Cunningham at RAF Scampton in November 2011.
Police said the "active shooter" had since been shot by officers and they were not seeking any other suspects.
Rain will continue spreading in from the southwest, remaining heavy, especially in western areas.