A newly-published study of NHS mental health trusts has concluded that both the administration and monitoring of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in England are failing to guarantee the safety of patients according to the University of East London-led review.
Lead researcher Dr John Read, professor of clinical psychology in the School of Psychology at UEL, believes the procedure should be completely suspended pending decent research.
ECT involves the passing of sufficient electricity through the brain, under general anaesthesia, to cause a seizure. While some claim the therapy is a safe and effective treatment for severe depression, some patients report that it causes persistent or permanent memory loss.
The recently-published A Second Independent Audit of Electroconvulsive Therapy in England, published in a British Psychological Society journal, confirmed that about 2,500 people are given ECT annually in England. The majority continue to be women (67%), and over 60 (58%). More than one in three (37%) are being given ECT against their will.