Shock therapy rules ‘not tough enough’

Mental health charity Mind has warned that guidance released this
week by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence on the use
of shock therapy is not robust enough.

Chief executive Richard Brook said the guidance from the NHS
watchdog, which says electroconvulsive therapy should only be used
on individuals with severe depressive illness, catatonia or those
suffering from a prolonged or severe manic episode, did not go far

“We are pleased that some measures have been taken to address
patients’ needs but we still want to see robust safeguards that
will prevent people from being given ECT when they are opposed to
it,” he said.

He added that the administration of ECT, a controversial practice
that involves placing electrodes on the patient’s temples, had been
“stuck in the dark ages for too long”.

The charity, which has questioned the effectiveness of shock
therapy, is calling for patient safeguards to be enshrined in law.

Clinical director at Nice, professor Peter Littlejohns, described
the guidance as “good news” for professionals and service users,
adding that Nice was aware that “some service users have concerns
about the use of ECT”.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has launched an ECT
accreditation service, which aims to raise standards in the
administration of the therapy, to coincide with the guidance.

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