Dr Hayley Gorton

Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice

...helped develop the project and deliver the training that will see LloydsPharmacy pilot an innovative new service that offers extra help and support to mental health patients. Funded by the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR GM PSTRC), in partnership with the University of Manchester and Salford Royal, the scheme will be carried out in ten community pharmacies in Greater Manchester.

A NEW service will now enable pharmacists to provide personalised support to people who have been newly-prescribed a medicine for depression or anxiety, or those who have experienced a recent change to their prescription.

The pilot programme has been funded and designed by researchers at the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR GM PSTRC), led by the University’s Dr Hayley Gorton, in collaboration with LloydsPharmacy.

Central to the programme, referred to as AMPLIPHY (Advancing Mental Health Provision in Pharmacy), is the ability for patients to lead the direction of support they receive; setting their own goals and objectives and the pharmacy offering support in trying to achieve them.  The goals can include a range of objectives, from wanting to spend more time outside, to taking up a new hobby.

“Community pharmacists are the most visited healthcare provider in England and 1.6 million people visit one every day,” said Dr Gorton, who is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice.  “They represent a significant opportunity when looking at how to improve patient safety in the treatment of mental health conditions.  

“We welcomed the opportunity to work with LloydsPharmacy on this pilot because we could see the potential for real impact.  In our previous research, pharmacy teams themselves suggested the incorporation of a service related to medicines for mental health problems.”

During an initial consultation, a pharmacist will discuss the medication with the patient, chatting through the correct way to take it, as well as what to do if they experience any potential side effects.  Further questions or concerns can then be referred to a designated contact at the pharmacy. 

After the initial consultation, AMPLIPHY includes another meeting 7 to 14 days later and then a follow-up every time the patient picks up a prescription, for the first three months of treatment, which could be face-to-face if the patient chooses.


LloydsPharmacy was very keen to be involved in the partnership, which is helping to improve the lives of people living with mental health conditions.

“The AMPLIPHY service has been designed with patients in mind,” said Gary Pickering, who is the Professional Support Manager at McKesson UK, the parent company of LloydsPharmacy.  “Ten pharmacies are delivering the service, all of which have been chosen because of the pharmacist’s desire to be engaged in the project and enthusiasm to make a difference.  All the pharmacists involved have received specialised training, including guidance on suicide awareness to further improve patient safety.”

With the aim of recruiting twelve people into the service, each of the community pharmacies will be working to generate a sample group of 100 patients.

“Treatment for mental health conditions can often present ups and downs for patients during the first few months and as such, treatment failure rates can be quite high,” said Mr Pickering.  “By supporting the patients through this journey and giving reassurances that what they’re experiencing is normal, the hope is that the treatment outcomes will significantly improve.

“Pharmacists see patients regularly and already offer advice on medications.  They are ideally placed to provide support and counselling for mental health patients and to help make sure their treatment is as effective as possible.  It’s essential that we use this pilot as an opportunity to listen and learn so we can find out what people want and expect from their interactions with pharmacists.”

The participating pharmacies are located across Greater Manchester and the pilot is set to run for the next four months. In April its impact will be evaluated.

“The NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC focuses on improving patient safety across four themes which include Medication Safety and Mental Health.  AMPLIPHY covers two of these areas and we believe it has the potential to make a difference to patients by providing enhanced support for their care in the community.”

Professor Darren Ashcroft, Deputy Director of the NIHR Greater Manchester PSTRC.

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