Saturday, 6 December 2014

Response to FOI request re ECT given to children, adolescents in Scotland 2008-13

I received an Email response yesterday from Dr Alistair Hay, Scottish ECT Accreditation Network Vice-Chairman, in regard to my FOI request about ECT given to children and adolescents in Scotland between 2008 and 2013.

The response was:

"Based on SEAN data held centrally by NSS Information Services (ISD) there were no patients under 16 that received ECT in Scotland between the years 2008 and 2013 inclusive.  There were 2 patients aged 16 who received ECT for the time period specified, the patients were from different Health Boards. There were no critical incidents or deaths associated with these two patients. Since the actual number of patients involved over this period is very low, our statutory obligation to protect patient confidentiality prevents the release of more detailed information regarding gender, diagnoses or health board. Section 38 (2)  Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 applies. I am sure you will appreciate our responsibilities in protecting the patients identities."  (bolding is mine)

Here is the Email:

One of the reasons I made this FOI (freedom of information) request was due to reading a BJPsych book review about 'Electroconvulsive Therapy in children and adolescents' by Gordana Milavic, Clinical Director of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at SLaM, as well as a consultant psychiatrist with the CAMHS Mood Disorder Service, Maudsley Hospital London who said:

"It would appear that there are no absolute medical or neurological contraindications to ECT" which bothered me.

Another reason was because on 14 October 2013 I had received an Email from a Scottish psychiatrist, professor and neuroscientist, an Email "pen-pal", in which he said:

"You don’t want children to die, I know that, but then again, you won’t have seen – just one example from my experience – a child in a severe catatonic state on the edge of death, saved by ECT, given by me."  (bolding is mine)

As a mother I was worried that children in Scotland were being subject to ECT without their consent.   For if a child is under 16 then they will not have the capacity to say yes to potentially damaging brain trauma.  ECT or shock treatment is not without risks and people who've had it say they have lost memories, good memories.  

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