pharmacist speaking to patient

HEE to offer specialist mental health training for pharmacists

Health Education England have announced a new pilot scheme which will offer specialist mental health training to pharmacists. 

This comes in response to the NHS Long Term Plan and NHS People Plan which states that integrated models of primary and community mental health care will support adults with severe mental illnesses. 

The training will be a 12-month tailored programme aimed at pharmacists working in Community Mental Health Teams and will look to improve knowledge and skills around mental health. 

The pilot will be delivered this spring in partnership with NHS England, NHS Improvement and the University of Bradford.  

In 2019 HEE set out a target to train 260 Specialist Mental Health Pharmacists in the Community by 2024, who will form part of the multidisciplinary community-based mental health team.  

The Mental Health Implementation Plan outlines the need to attain a total of 280 new specialist mental health pharmacists by 2023/24, 260 of those being for severe mental illness and the remaining 20 for perinatal. 

Aurora Diaz Lopez, National Programme Manager at Health Education England said: “The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan outlines an ambition to expand the mental health pharmacist workforce to improve the care provided to adults in the community with severe mental illness. To support the education and development of individuals working in these roles, Health Education England have commissioned a pilot 12-month training pathway with the University of Bradford.  

“This pathway aims to develop the mental and physical health knowledge and skills of experienced pharmacists within community mental health and primary care teams nationally, enabling them to provide expert care to the patients who use their services.” 

There are currently 50 pre-funded places available as part of the NHS England and NHS Improvement Mental Health Implementation plan 2019-2023/24.  

Candidates can enroll on the programme if they fill the following criteria: 

  • Are an experienced pharmacist registered with the GPhC 
  • Are working within a Community/Primary care Mental Health Team (CMHT). 
  • Are working with patients with severe mental illness (SMI) 
  • Are employed within the NHS, or through an NHS commissioned mental health service 
  • Have a written declaration of support from their line manager. 
  • Have agreed ongoing work based educational supervision/clinical supervision from a mental health specialist employed by a mental health provider organisation Complete the programme application form 
  • Agree to undertake a gateway training needs analysis (TNA), facilitated by the education provider, at the beginning of the programme. 

This new framework is hoped to relieve pressure from current mental health services and raises the importance of further utilising pharmacy staff to support patients and clinical staff. 

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