Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective NICE-approved treatment for severe depression, treatment-resistant mania and catatonia; the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ (RCPsych) guidelines also support its use fourth line for treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
Evaluate the use of ECT at Broadmoor High Secure psychiatric hospital, focusing on the indications for its prescription and patients’ capacity to consent.
Analyse case records of all patients who received ECT, and of all patients referred for Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD) certified ECT treatment under Section 58 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) due to incapacity, between 01.09.11 and 30.07.15.
All patients lacked capacity to consent to treatment during this time. Thirty-three referrals were made to the SOAD service for 15 patients, and of these 30 resulted in certification (T6) of which 10 were not subsequently used. Improvements in mental state and agreement to take clozapine were common reasons for T6s either not being certified or used. Urgent treatment under Section 62 of the MHA was employed 7 times for 4 patients during this period. Of the referrals to the SOAD service, 25 were for treatment-resistant schizophrenia, 5 for mania, 3 for catatonia and none for depression.
Those patients requiring ECT within this population tended to be the most unwell and all lacked the capacity to consent to it. The majority (76%) of patients receiving ECT at Broadmoor do so outside of NICE (but within RCPsych) guidelines. ECT may be an effective strategy for promoting compliance with clozapine.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.