NHS priorities

Whether it’s to prepare for the next Pharmacy Quality Scheme deadline, or to increase your confidence in helping people with a learning disability, this section provides topic-specific pages that link to current NHS priorities. This section will support you in keeping your knowledge and skills up to date in order to provide high-quality pharmacy services and be service-ready.

Clinical pharmacy

Our clinical portfolio is expanding on a frequent basis, helping you to advance your knowledge and skills and deliver medicines optimisation in practice for all sectors of pharmacy. From two new focal points a year to our small group learning for hospital pharmacists – Optimise – this section focuses on clinical pharmacy, diseases and therapeutics.

Public health

The public health agenda is embedded in pharmacy, yet topics such as emergency contraception or stop smoking support are as prevalent as ever. As well as our public health workshops, use this section to access a wide range of resources to assure and maintain your competence, all underpinned by the Declaration of Competence system.

Antidepressants New Medicine Service pilot

The New Medicine Service (NMS) is a well-established advanced pharmacy service. The NMS is based on evidence which suggests that pharmacists can successfully intervene when a medicine is newly prescribed, with repeated follow-up in the short term, to increase effective medicine-taking for the treatment of a long-term condition.1

When the NMS was first launched, the therapeutic areas covered were hypertension, type 2 diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma and antiplatelet therapy. A health economic analysis of the NMS in 2017 concluded that it would be beneficial to extend this service to other medicines.2 In September 2021, the conditions and therapeutic areas were updated to include asthma and COPD, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia, osteoporosis, gout, glaucoma, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, urinary incontinence/retention, heart failure, acute coronary syndromes, stroke/transient ischemic attack, coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation and long-term risks of venous thromboembolism/embolism.

From 2017 to 2018, approximately 7.3 million people (17 percent of adults) were prescribed antidepressants in England. It is estimated that about a third of these are newly prescribed. This represents a large cohort that could benefit from the NMS service. There is evidence to suggest that community pharmacists may have a role in improving adherence in the context of depression; therefore, a Pharmacy Integration Programme pilot has been developed to evaluate the potential inclusion of antidepressants in the NMS.

On this page, you will find a collection of resources to support you in your preparation for delivering this service. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the service specification, which can be found under the first tab below, before working through the mandatory learning. If you feel that you would benefit from further reading, then we recommend that you access the optional further reading resources, which are broken down into topic areas.

Please note: Contractors eligible to take part in this pilot will be contacted by their NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) regional team.

Click on the following tabs to find further information and directions on how to access the training.

Antidepressants New Medicine Service – service specification

The Antidepressants New Medicine Service – service specification provides further background information, aims and intended outcomes, and details around service provision. Click the button below to download the service specification.

Antidepressants New Medicine Service – service specification

Mandatory learning

There are five learning resources that have been identified as key to preparing for the delivery of this service, and these resources are therefore mandatory learning.

1. CPPE Consulting with people with mental health problems e-learning

The CPPE Consulting with people with mental health problems e-learning will help you to consider what is different about consulting with people with mental health problems, and how you can prepare for and approach these consultations so that people get the most benefit from them.

This learning takes an estimated three hours to complete.

2. Royal College of Psychiatrists Antidepressants and Anxiety, panic and phobias information pages

The Royal College of Psychiatrists Antidepressants information page is for anyone who wants to know more about antidepressants. It describes how they work, why they are prescribed, their effects and side effects, and alternative treatments

The Royal College of Psychiatrists Anxiety, panic and phobias information page is for anyone who wants to understand more about anxiety.

This information takes up to an estimated two hours to work through (one hour per page).

3. How to approach the Antidepressants New Medicine Service in practice expert videos

The following five videos have been developed specifically for this Antidepressants New Medicine Service pilot.

Nick Barber is Emeritus Professor of Pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy, University of London. Throughout his career Nick has helped to shape the way that the profession supports people with medicines adherence and the New Medicine Service is based on 15 years of his research.

Nina Barnett is a consultant pharmacist and clinical leader with expertise in older people. She has pioneered the use of coaching in pharmacy to promote a person-centred approach to medicines-related consultations. As well as her pharmacy roles, Nina is a coach on the NHS England #lookingafteryoutoo wellbeing programme.

Nicola Greenhalgh is the lead pharmacist for Mental Health Services at North East London NHS Foundation Trust. Nicola provides expert insight into how the challenges of having conversations about depression and antidepressant treatment can be navigated.

You will find a summary of the key learning points on a slide at the end of each of the videos.

Disorganised thinking

Someone expressing loneliness

Uncertainty around antidepressants

Someone expressing anhedonia

When someone returns feeling worse

4. Emma’s story – a CPPE mental health animation

In this short video, we meet Emma. She is struggling to balance her work life with caring for her family, and is finding it hard to sleep. See how she gets on when she meets Georgina, the pharmacist, to discuss her mental health.

This video is 6 minutes and 36 seconds long.

5. Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) Suicide Awareness Training

As a pre-requisite, you should have already undertaken ZSA Suicide Awareness Training as part of the Pharmacy Quality Scheme 2020/2021. If you have not already completed this training, you should do so now.This learning aims to give you the skills and confidence to help someone who may be considering suicide, and focuses on breaking stigma and encouraging open conversations.
This learning takes an estimated 20 minutes to complete.

Please note that ZSA also offer information on how to get urgent help for those at risk of suicide.

Test yourself quiz

At this stage, you may wish to test yourself and gain an understanding of your level of knowledge on the above mandatory learning. Depending on your existing level of knowledge and experience, you may also wish to undertake further learning.

To help you to direct your learning, we have developed a Test yourself quiz – completing this quiz is not a requirement for this service; however, it can be used as a tool to help you direct your own learning. Once you have completed the quiz, you may wish to visit the topic area(s) relevant to your personal learning needs. This may mean that you choose to revisit the mandatory learning materials and/or the optional further reading outlined below.

Test yourself quiz

Optional further learning – clinical

If you have identified further learning needs that relate to the clinical elements of delivering this service, then you may benefit from accessing the following resources.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) learning module

The MHRA Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) learning module identifies the most important hazards of SSRIs and informs on actions that health professionals should take in order to minimise and manage the risks. This learning takes an estimated two hours to complete, and the associated assessment takes an estimated 30 minutes.

Health Education England (HEE) Framework of core mental health competencies for all pharmacy professionals

HEE has commissioned the Framework of core mental health competencies for all pharmacy professionals to raise awareness of the role that all pharmacy professionals can play in providing accessible services that allow an open dialogue around mental health.

NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary (CKS) Depression: prescribing information

The CKS Depression topic covers the assessment and management of adults with depression in primary care. The Prescribing information section contains important aspects of prescribing information for the medicines covered by the topic. The information is relevant to primary healthcare.

CPPE Mental health cards distance learning

The CPPE Mental health cards distance learning programme is designed for pharmacy professionals in all sectors to gain new insights into different areas of mental health, and how you, in your own setting and practice, can make a difference to people with these, often invisible, conditions.

CPPE Documenting in patient clinical records e-learning

The CPPE Documenting in patient clinical records e-learning programme will support you with documenting in patient clinical records to enable continuity of patient care in integrated local services.

Videos: Supporting people living with anxiety

The following CPPE videos share insights into emphasising the experience of people living with anxiety and improving how pharmacy professionals could support people in their practice. As you watch them consider, how you have interacted with people experiencing anxiety and how you could consider their comments and suggestions to improve your practice moving forwards.

The stigma that stops me from talking

Talking about anxiety in my culture

How pharmacy professionals have initiated a discussion with me

My ideas for improving our dialogue

How pharmacy professionals can change the way they interact with me

Optional further learning – resources for patients

If you have identified further learning needs that relate to the resources that are available for patients, then you may benefit from accessing the following resources.

Mind UK lived experience

Mind UK is a registered charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

In Mind’s Living with depression: my experience, Amy shares her experience of living with depression.

Mind also offer information about depression for people living with this condition, and for their friends and family.

Charlie Waller Trust video training sessions

The Charlie Waller Trust offers a selection of video training sessions produced by their experienced mental health trainers. Within these sessions, the trainers explore strategies for maintaining positive mental health, paying attention to our own wellbeing and supporting those around us.

NHS information pages

The NHS offers the following pages aimed at members of the public:
Treatment – clinical depression contains information about the different treatment options available for the different types of depression.
Overview – antidepressants contains information about antidepressants, including how they work and the different types that are available.

Optional further learning – commissioning

If you have identified further learning needs that relate to the commissioning of this service, then you may benefit from accessing the following resource.

NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24

The NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan 2019/20 – 2023/24 provides details about a new framework for helping to deliver on the commitment to pursue the most ambitious transformation in mental health care, at the local level.

Optional further learning – consultation skills

At CPPE, we offer consultation skills learning to help you ensure that both you, and the people you consult with, are getting the most from your consultations. Our following gateway pages contain key resources to support you. In addition to the two main consultation skills pages (foundation and advanced), we offer a collection of resources to support you to provide consultations remotely.

Consultation skills (foundation) Consultation skills (advanced) Remote consultations

Staff wellbeing

Free coaching sessions are available from the NHS Looking after you too service for pharmacists, where you can discuss work demands and practical strategies for how to deal with them.

Any queries about this service should be directed to england england.pharmacyintegration@nhs.net.


  1. Elliott R, Boyd M, Salema NE, et al. Supporting adherence for people starting a new medication for a long-term condition through community pharmacies: a pragmatic randomised controlled trial of the New Medicine Service. 2015;25(10): 747-758. Available from: https://qualitysafety.bmj.com/content/25/10/747 [Accessed 7th February 2022]
  2. Elliott R, Tanajewski L, Gkountouras G, et al. Cost effectiveness of support for people starting a new medication for a long-term condition through community pharmacies: an economic evaluation of the New Medicine Service (NMS) compared with normal practice. 2017;35: 1237-1255. Available from: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40273-017-0554-9 [Accessed 7th February 2022]