A NEW handheld inhaler is helping patients control their own pain relief.

The device, known as a green whistle, is being used at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Friarage at Northallerton. It's for patients undergoing short medical procedures and means they do not have to have anaesthetic or intravenous drugs.

The device contains a small amount of pain relief gas and has had a 98 per cent success rate. Laura Dunn, 31, from Darlington is receiving injections for a venous malformation in her leg.

She said:"I have had both local and general anaesthetic before, so you are not only getting over the procedure but also the side effects of the anaesthetic. With the whistle you don’t get any of that at all, there's no grogginess and no headaches."