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Electro-convulsive therapy review announced

Electro-convulsive therapy review announced

Ministry of Health Director-General Dr Karen Poutasi today announced the membership of an independent review of electro-convulsive therapy that will be carried out in line with health select committee recommendations made earlier in the year.

Dr Poutasi said the review would look at the safety and effectiveness of electro-convulsive therapy and the adequacy of current regulatory controls on its use.

The review will be led by Auckland University geriatrics and neurology professor Craig Anderson, Otago University law professor Peter Skegg and mental health consumer expert Ranui Wilson, and will be completed within a year.

"Professor Anderson's expertise is in evidence-based health care and research and in development of evidence-based guidelines. Professor Skegg has expertise in medical law and ethics, and Ranui Wilson has considerable experience as a consumer advisor and service auditor," Dr Poutasi said.

The review will incorporate evidence-based reviews, advice from a panel of expert advisors, international peer review and an opportunity for public input on a draft report for consultation prior to finalisation. The review's terms of reference are attached.

A Ministry audit of technical aspects of electro-convulsive therapy delivery in New Zealand will be completed and published in late January. Preliminary findings from the audit are that the therapy was being safely delivered, but improvements could be made in providing information and support to people receiving electro-convulsive therapy and their families, and in staff training and monitoring in some DHBs.

Recommendations to address these matters will be detailed when the report is released early next year.

ECT Review

Terms of Reference

The review team will:
• produce a comprehensive review of the literature, including “grey” and other non-medical literature where appropriate, on the efficacy and safety of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in the range of disorders for which it may be used

• produce a review of the literature, the Acts of Parliament and relevant current practices on regulation of the use of ECT in New Zealand and in other like nations

• on the basis of the available evidence, informed by credible advice, produce a draft report on the safety and efficacy of ECT and the adequacy of regulatory controls on its use, including compulsory use, in New Zealand

• consider feedback received from the public and relevant organisations on the draft report, and amend the report where appropriate

• provide a final written report of the Reviewers to the Minister of Health, including any recommendations for changes to the regulatory environment for ECT delivery.

The work will draw on the advice of a panel of experts in areas including psychiatry, neuropsychology, mental health consumer issues, Maori and Pacific cultural issues, mental health law, human rights, ECT delivery and primary health, and will be subject to international peer review.

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