HC Deb 21 October 1987 vol 120 cc802-3W
Mr. Vaz

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what research has been conducted or commissioned into the efficacy of electro-convulsive therapy for psychiatric conditions; what information he has as to the incidence of its use and its receptance as a valid method of treatment by the medical profession; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Currie

There has been a considerable volume of research recently both regarding the efficacy of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) for different patient groups and regarding the method of treatment. This research has confirmed that ECT is a very effective treatment for certain clinical conditions, and has made it clearer which conditions are best treated with ECT; it also confirmed that when properly administered its side effects are very slight.

The number of courses of treatment has tended to fall gradually in recent years. ECT is widely accepted as an effective treatment within the medical profession; the falling number of people being treated with ECT is likely to reflect the greater knowledge now available about the types of conditions most suitably treated with ECT and the availability of other treatments.