The Mental Health Commission of Ireland has recently published a report on the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in Ireland in 2012.
ECT was given to 244 people, who received a total of 311 programmes, a small decrease on the previous year. A programme roughly equates to a course, but if someone has more than 12 treatments it counts as more than one programme.
Women, who accounted for 55 per cent of admissions for depression, made up 63 per cent of those receiving ECT. The patients ranged in age from 24 to 92 years, with a mean of 59. Depression was the diagnosis of 83 per cent of those undergoing ECT, with schizophrenia the next most common diagnosis (9 per cent). 28 people were treated without their consent, which is a lower proportion than in the United Kingdom.
St Patrick’s University Hospital, Dublin, was responsible for 107 programmes of treatment, not including the patients they treated from Jonathan Swift Clinic and St Edmundsbury Hospital. During the year psychiatrists at St Patrick’s hospital were recruiting patients for a trial of bilateral versus unilateral ECT.
St Patrick’s Hospital did not have the highest ratio of ECT programmes (107) to admissions for depression (881). Cluain Mhuire, Jonathan Swift Clinic, St Luke’s (Kilkenny), Waterford Regional Hospital and St Brigid’s (Ballinasloe) all had higher. Large hospitals with a low ratio of ECT programmes to admissions for depression included Newcastle, Connolly (Dublin), Midwestern Regional Hospital (Ennis), Midwestern Regional Hospital, and Mayo Hospital. The Mayo Hospital had 285 admissions for depression but gave ECT to fewer than 5 people.