ECT in Canada: location, location, location

In Canada, Nicholas Delva and some other psychiatrists are conducting a survey of ECT practice over the country as a whole. Called CANECTS, the survey has been up and running since 2004 and promises eventually to reveal

“how many facilities  now offer electroconvulsive therapy, which conditions are being treated, what type of equipment is being used, what consent processes are being followed and what information is being revealed to patients. Teaching, budgets and patient access will also  be assessed”. (H. Hoag 2008 Inducing seizures among seniors. CMAJ 178(10): 1264-6)

But to date the only information they appear to have come up with is that there are 173 centres currently using ECT in Canada and that 80 per cent of the population live within an hour’s drive of an ECT clinic. Nine per cent of the population on the other hand live more than five hours drive from their nearest ECT clinic.

Detailed estimates of the driving times to ECT centres for the populations of Canada and each province” were presented at the CNIP World Congress in Hong Kong in June.

The interest in drive times may be partly explained by the high proportion (nearly two-thirds) of ECT patients in Canada who are treated on an out-patient basis.

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