Skip to content

Mental health training for pharmacies scheme extended for two more years


Diane Webb

A pilot project run by the University of Bradford to deliver mental health training to hundreds of pharmacists across the UK has been extended for another two years.

The Specialist Mental Health Pharmacist Training Pathway was developed in 2021/22 thanks to funding from Health Education England (HEE) to support the development of up to 50 pharmacists working in new roles in the community.

HEE has now committed to fund the project for another two years, extending training to 70 pharmacists per year.

Generic picture of a customer being served in a pharmacy

The University of Bradford will work alongside Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the pathway to support the journey to advanced level practice for experienced pharmacists. 

The Specialist Mental Health Training Pathway is a tailored 12-month programme designed to develop pharmacists’ knowledge of, medicines optimisation, initiation, and personalisation for patients with complex mental illnesses - check your eligibility here. 

University of Bradford Associate Professor Diane Webb, who is leading the project, said: “We are delighted the University of Bradford has been recommissioned to continue delivering this pathway for a further two years. It is with a sense of pride we are continuing to play our part developing pharmacist leaders for the new roles in primary and community mental health teams throughout England. Continuous evaluation and adaptation of the pathway will drive innovation, collaboration, communication and education using distance learning and team-based learning pedagogy.

“The University of Bradford is the only university to offer this kind of advanced training. Ultimately the training will ensure the workforce is ready for the new roles and provide excellent shared care with patients who have severe mental illness.”

Under the scheme, specialist mental health pharmacists working in community teams undertake 10 learning modules over the course of 12 months, covering a range of mental health topics, the idea being that by doing so pharmacists can help improve the care of mental health patients.

These new roles are a key part of a multidisciplinary team within new models of integrated primary and community mental health care – to support adults and older adults with moderate to severe mental health problems.

Gemma Quinn

Director of Studies and Postgraduate Lead at the University of Bradford Dr Gemma Quinn (pictured above) said: “We are so pleased to be able to continue to offer this programme to specialist pharmacists working in these innovative new roles. Our online national programme has been designed to help pharmacists connect with each other to learn and develop long-lasting networks. This pathway will enable them to provide excellent care for complex patients, and empower them to lead innovation and service improvement within our NHS.”

Shane Costigan, Pharmacy Dean at HEE South East, said: “We are delighted to be building on the success of the first cohort of the training pathway, and to be working with the team at the University of Bradford to support the development of more pharmacists working in community mental health teams to deliver integrated, patient centred care to people with severe mental illness.” 

Matthew Elswood, National Specialty Adviser for Mental Health Pharmacy said: “This extended training offer providing ongoing support for specialist mental health pharmacists working in new roles is a very positive and welcome development. We have evaluated and improved the training to ensure our workforce has the best support available to meet the challenges of optimising the use of medicines for people with severe and enduring mental illness.”

Additional information

Pharmacists are being encouraged to register interest now for the Specialist Mental Health Training Pathway.

Candidates enrolling in this programme must:

  • be an experienced pharmacist registered with the GPhC

  • be working within a community/primary care mental health team (CMHT)

  • be working with patients with severe mental illness

  • be 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, facilitated by the education provider, at the beginning of the programme. Please encourage eligible pharmacists to register interest now.

More information is on the Health Education England website. We will send further information when Cohort 2 opens for registration. If you would like to discuss the training further, please do not hesitate to contact us at 

More about the project

The pathway consists of a tailored 12-month programme aimed at experienced pharmacists working in community mental health teams.

The pathway aims to further develop pharmacists’ knowledge of; medicines optimisation, initiation and personalisation particularly of medication for patients with complex co-morbidities and will therefore have a key role in improving physical health outcomes for people with severe mental illness.

The training pathway supports the journey to advanced level practice for pharmacists.