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MPs call for ban on electroconvulsive therapy for women in mental health care

MPs from across the political spectrum have called for a ban on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) as a treatment for mental illness in England, and want the practice to be subject to an urgent inquiry.

MPs told The Independent they have serious concerns that women are disproportionally given electroconvulsive therapy, and argued that patients are not properly notified of the treatment’s potential side effects. Some patients have also reported that they weren’t asked to provide consent before it was administered.

Dr Pallavi Devulapalli, a GP, called for the government to undertake an “urgent and comprehensive review” of the treatment as she warned that patients’ wellbeing was “at stake”.

The calls come after The Independent previously reported that thousands of women were being given ECT despite concerns that it can cause irreversible brain damage.

It comes after Dr Sue Cunliffe, who began receiving ECT in 2004, previously told The Independent that the treatment had “completely destroyed” her life despite a psychiatrist having told her there would be no long-term side effects.

Dr Cunliffe, a former children’s doctor, said: “By the end of it, I couldn’t recognise relatives or friends. I couldn’t count money out. I couldn’t do my two times table. I couldn’t navigate anywhere. I couldn’t remember what I’d done from one minute to another.”

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Source: The Independent, 12 March 2023


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