Opinions of stakeholders about integrating pharmacists into Community Mental Health Teams

Ffion Evans, Rhian Deslandes, Paul Deslandes, Simon Young

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference or Meeting Abstractpeer-review


    Pharmacists are routinely involved in optimising medicines for mental health patients during inpatient admissions through attending ward rounds and providing a clinical pharmacy service. (1) Despite literature demonstrating the benefits, specialist pharmacists are not routinely integrated in Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) (2) and there is little research to identify the barriers to pharmacists’ integration. The opinions of stakeholder who influence the design of community mental health services, are key to understanding these issues.

    To explore the views of relevant stakeholders in one health board (HB) in Wales, regarding integration of pharmacists into CMHTs, and to make recommendations to overcome identified barriers to integration.

    Semi-structured interviews using open questions with key stakeholders within two CMHTs and the HB’s adult mental health clinical board. Participants were selected purposively to allow recruitment of individuals who would provide insight into the proposed question(s). Written, informed consent was obtained. A deductive approach was used to define interview questions. Interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically using an inductive approach to explore the data without any pre-conceived ideas and identify additional key themes. The study was registered with the HB.

    Interviews (3 pharmacists, 2 consultant psychiatrists, 1 integrated manager, 2 clinical nurse leads and 2 general managers) lasted between 30-45 minutes. Analysis revealed five main themes; relationship with the pharmacist, including previous experiences and individual pharmacist’s personal attributes; CMHT workload relevant to pharmacists’ skills; workforce and financial pressures; the need for ongoing support for and from pharmacists; and pharmacists’ expertise including non-medical prescribing. Previous experience of working with specialist mental health pharmacist influenced participants’ views, those with limited experience were less clear about what a pharmacist’s role would be in CMHTs“…we haven’t had specialist pharmacist linked to us ………“Always can get in touch with pharmacy by e-mail or phone. Can see advantage of a pharmacist in the building, the medics would really like that it wouldn’t need to be every week maybe a morning every two weeks. We know where pharmacy are, not a dire need. Others identified a clear role for pharmacists, “running clinic for us especially when we have referrals from GP purely asking for medication reviews having [pharmacist] here the benefit surpasses most of the options we can offer through medic”. Participants believed pharmacists needed training in risk assessment and consultation skills and they should be prescribers to contribute effectively. Nine participants had worked previously with pharmacists, all advocated their integration into CMHTs.

    This small-scale study suggests there is a desire to integrate pharmacists into CMHTs with a strong emphasis on their role in addressing medicine-related workload pressures. Positive relationships formed from prior experience of working with pharmacists strongly influenced support for integration. There are potential roles for pharmacists that would improve timeliness and quality of care for people supported by CMHTs. Resource constraints such as lack of funding and availability of appropriately trained pharmacists need to be resolved. Further work is necessary to investigate how these barriers can be addressed and to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of any pharmacy service delivered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)i43-i43
    Number of pages1
    JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
    Issue numberSuuplement_1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
    EventHealth Services Research and Pharmacy Practice Conference 2022: Delivering Impact for Patients and Other Stakeholders - Online - hosted by the University of Bath, Bath, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Apr 202212 Apr 2022


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