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Pharmacy and pharmacy technicians

Increasing the exposure of the pharmacy workforce to mental health services, and building their experience in this vital part of our health and care system, can bring unique insights and skills to support patient-centred care.


The NHS Long Term Plan and People Plan states that integrated models of primary and community mental health care will support adults and older adults with severe mental illnesses. The Mental Health Implementation Plan indicates a need to increase pharmacists specialising in mental health by 280 by 2023/24 with a breakdown of 260 for severe mental illness and 20 for perinatal.  by 2023/24 to meet the requirements of the community-based offer.

The creation of these new community-based mental health pharmacy roles will reinvigorate the overall mental health pharmacist workforce and their mental health expertise will help to spread learning across the new pharmacy workforce.

Pharmacy for mental health training offer

In 2019, HEE commenced the development of training pathway; to identify and design a pathway to train 260 Specialist Mental Health Pharmacists in the Community by 2024. Specialist Mental Health Pharmacists will work as part of multidisciplinary community-based mental health teams.

These pharmacists will be responsible for medicines optimisation for people with severe mental health problems – particularly those with complex co-morbid physical health problems. By 2023/24 NHS England/Improvement (NHSE/I) is committed to employing more mental health pharmacists to work as part of Multi-Disciplinary Teams (MDTs) in new models of community-based mental health care for adults and older adults. To find out more, visit HEE's pharmacy webpage.

Specialist mental health training for pharmacists pilot 

We have recently announced a pilot scheme which will offer specialist mental health training to experienced pharmacists working in Community Mental Health Teams. To find out more, visit HEE's pharmacy webpage.

Core mental health competencies framework for all pharmacy professions

It was identified that the pharmacy workforce needed development and training in managing mental health across all settings to support the introduction and expansion of new roles. This is because many pharmacists and pharmacy technicians have limited exposure to mental health services during their training.

A coherent and aligned national framework of core mental health competencies for all pharmacy professions was developed and linked to the development of rotational and training placements for the pharmacy workforce. The pharmacy extended roles report highlights the importance of supporting people and colleagues with their mental health.

Learning resources for pharmacy professionals

The Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education (CPPE) has developed a national learning resource and campaign for pharmacy professionals to better support people living with mental health conditions. CPPE is a national organisation funded by HEE to provide educational solutions for the pharmacy workforce to maximise its contribution to improving patient care.

Twice a year CPPE focuses on a key area of importance to the whole pharmacy profession. Mental health is our current topic. CPPE has developed a learning programme on mental health, which has been distributed to pharmacy professionals in England. For more information, visit www.cppe.ac.uk/mentalhealth

A review of innovative and extended roles within mental health pharmacy

The mental health programme identified a need for additional pharmacists in the Adult Severe Mental Illnesses (SMI) Community Care programme, and Community Perinatal Mental Health. This review was prepared through a literature search and discussions with a range of pharmacy professionals across England. These case studies explore the experiences of Pharmacy Technicians and this document gives an overview for those interested in becoming a mental health pharmacist or pharmacy technician.

Mental health early career training report

Green Line Consulting Limited with HEE has produced a report focusing on the provision of mental health (MH) training opportunities for student, pre-registration and foundation pharmacy team members in England. The report considers the peer-reviewed literature and reflected on policy work by HEE.

Pharmacy Careers

To find out about mental health pharmacy careers, visit the health careers website or pharmacy careers map.