Efforts to Improve the Accuracy of Information About Electroconvulsive Therapy Given to Patients and Families
Objective: Many thousands of people still receive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) but it remains highly contested. A recent audit of the United Kingdom patient information leaflets found multiple inaccuracies and omissions, minimizing risks and exaggerating benefits (e.g., only six leaflets mentioned cardiovascular events). This study reports efforts to improve accuracy for patients and families. Methods: Letters were sent twice to managers of all 51 United Kingdom National Health Service Trusts, (regional bodies which deliver most healthcare) detailing the audit’s findings and the accuracy of their own Trust’s leaflet, also asking what changes would be undertaken. Results: Only nine Trusts responded and three committed to improvements. The Royal College of Psychiatrists released a slightly better but still highly misleading information sheet. Efforts to engage Government and all other relevant United Kingdom bodies failed. Conclusions: Trusts are unwilling to correct misinformation/ provide balanced information.