ECT in Wales: use is much higher than claimed

In a previous post about ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) in Wales I asked if we could believe statistics published by the Welsh Assembly Government. The answer is no.

The Welsh Assembly Government claimed that fewer than 5 detained patients received ECT in 2009. But the Health Inspectorate Wales, who oversee the use of the Mental Health Act in Wales, say that about 75 detained patients received ECT without their consent between April 2009 and August 2010. And these are just the detained patients who are deemed to lack capacity; there will be other detained patients who consent to treatment. So the Welsh Assembly Government figure is out by a factor of at least ten. That should be more than 50, rather than fewer than 5.

As for the total number of people who underwent ECT in Wales in 2009, it is probably several hundred rather than the 62 they claim. It looks as if the use of ECT in Wales is broadly similar to its use in England.

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