Press Release from MIND
3-26-03

PSYCHIATRISTS' APPEAL TO NICE TO DROP NEW RESTRICTIONS ON ECT FAILS AS USERS' VIEWS WIN RESPECT

An appeal by the Royal College of Psychiatrists to NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) to drop new restrictions on ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) treatments, contained in draft guidance, has failed.

Mind has congratulated NICE on their decision and the way they gave due credibility to the evidence submitted on behalf of people who had been given ECT treatments, and who want tighter controls.

The Royal College was unhappy that ECT treatments were to be restricted to those people who have severe symptoms and not available to people with moderate symptoms. Mind argues that it should only be given as a treatment of last resort and only when all other treatment options had been explored.

Richard Brook, Mind's Chief Executive said: "At last someone in authority has treated the views and experiences of people with mental health problems seriously, alongside professional opinions and the results of randomized clinical trials.

Mind is also encouraged to see NICE recommend that patients' wishes, set out in 'living wills', are taken fully into account when they lose the ability to express them.

Mind wants to see these 'living wills' given legal force so that someone who says they don't want ECT won't be given it against their will unless their life is at serious risk and other alternatives have been exhausted. We hope this will lead to a big drop in the number of people having ECT forced on them against their wishes."

The final NICE guidance on ECT is expected in May.

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