ECT in England since 1991

Since the Department of Health stopped collecting reasonably accurate statistics on the use of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) in England in 1991, they have carried two surveys. Each survey – one in 1999 and one in 2002 – covered a three-month period.

In 1999 approximately 11,200 people received ECT in England. In 2002 that figure was reduced to approximately 9,200. (I have multiplied the 3-month figures by 4 to give an approximate total for the whole year). You can see the 2002 survey here.

In 2009 the Royal College of Pyschiatrists carried out another 3-month survey, and concluded that number of people receiving ECT had fallen still further to between 5,104 and 6,720 a year (depending on how much ECT was used by the trusts who didn’t respond). 30 per cent of the patients were detained under the Mental Health Act. Figures from the Mental Health Act Commission show that about nearly 2,000 detained patients received ECT without their consent in 2009, so even the higher estimate doesn’t leave much room for detained patients who consented to treatment.

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