The inclusion of antidepressants in the new medicine service (NMS), which was set to begin on 19 April, will now begin later in 2023, NHS England has said.

The start of the service is subject to the success of an ongoing pilot, which began in May 2022 and has now been extended.

In the latest community pharmacy contractual framework, it was agreed that the new medicine service (NMS) would be expanded to enable those who had been newly prescribed an antidepressant to receive extra support from their community pharmacist.

This would include an engagement, intervention, follow up and additional follow up stage with a community pharmacist. NHS England said that this would encourage signposting, collaborative working, and the development of peer support networks around depression and mental health.

NHS England said that further details, including a revised start date for the service, will be published when the evaluation of the ongoing pilot has completed.

The Pharmacist has approached NHS England for more information.

The NMS has been delivered by community pharmacies since 2011, with 5.7 million consultations provided between 2011 and 2018, according to a 2019 study.

Researchers also suggested that it could be carried out by practice-based pharmacists.

In 2018, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society proposed that the New Medicine Service be expanded to include mental health medicines, which was supported by many within the sector.