NPN | Mental Health: Pharmacist Training in 2022

According to The Pharmaceutical Journal, a new pilot programme is soon to launch as Health Education England signs a £120,000 contract with the University of Bradford in order to train 50 pharmacists to work within multidisciplinary community-based mental health teams. If the pilot is a success, the eventual aim will see 260 specialist mental health pharmacists trained and eager to help across the UK.

On the 30th July 2020, NHS England published the ‘NHS People Plan’, committing to training this first fifty as part of their workforce plan for 2021. This training plan is part of a drive to prioritise the ‘continued investment in training the future mental health workforce.’ In conjunction with the NHS Long Term Plan, this training drive will aim to support adults and older adults with severe mental illnesses, with an estimated need for 260 pharmacists trained in severe mental illness, and 20 trained in perinatal.

The 12 month programme is tailored for experienced pharmacists who will work within Community Mental Health Teams. The training is set to include physical and mental health knowledge, skills and assessment, and will be delivered over 10 modules. The fifty participants will come from a variety of backgrounds, and the project lead at the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of Bradford is excited to get things started:

“The University of Bradford is passionate about mental health and we are thrilled to be able to deliver this new and exciting pathway. The medications that are used in mental health can be so complex and pharmacists need to be involved. So it’s absolutely right that we should be involved from the very beginning of care, helping people to take medicine safely and to get the full effects of those medicines.”

In order to meet the government’s goals for the improvement of mental health care and support, training pharmacy teams with new skills is extremely important. Roz Gittins, president of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy, explains: “There are psycho-social interventions, but also prescribed interventions that are commonly used… As pharmacists, we are experts in medicines. To have those experts in medicines upskilled is obviously really key, so we’re really looking forward to seeing how this works out.”


Although this is still a pilot study, NHS England and Health Education England are aiming to bring greater understanding of mental health care into your local pharmacy, and by 2024, your community pharmacy team may include a specialist pharmacist trained in mental health care. If you are in need of help, you can always pop into your pharmacy and ask for advice - they will be trained to guide you towards the most appropriate service to meet your needs.