Electroconvulsive Therapy Practice in New Zealand

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Abstract

Objectives

The aim of this study was to describe the contemporary practice of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in New Zealand.

Methods

A 53-item questionnaire was sent to all services providing ECT as of December 2015.

Results

Electroconvulsive therapy was provided by 16 services covering 15 district health boards funded by the New Zealand government. No private facilities provided ECT. All services providing ECT responded to an online survey questionnaire. Rates of ECT utilization were low relative to similar countries. Survey results indicated ECT was practiced to an overall good standard. Several resource and logistical issues potentially contributing to low ECT utilization were identified.

Conclusions

Electroconvulsive therapy in New Zealand is provided using modern equipment and practices. However, overall rates of utilization remain low, perhaps as a result of controversy surrounding ECT and some resourcing issues.

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