ECT without consent in the Northern Territory, Australia

ECT statistics

In January the NT News in Australia ran a story with the title “16 Territorians given shock therapy without their consent”

“FEWER than 10 per cent of ­patients who received electroconvulsive therapy, formerly known as electro shock therapy (ECT), gave informed consent in 2014-15, according to a mental health expert. The Mental Health Review Tribunal approved 16 Territorians to receive the controversial treatment without patient consent in 2014-15.”

If 16 represents 90 per cent of the total number of people who received ECT in the Northern Territory 2014-15, then it means that just two people, out of a total of 18, consented to have the treatment in a year.

The Northern Territory has a population of under 250,000 people, so this does not represent a particulary low use of ECT. It is fairly similar, for example, to its use in Northern Ireland and Scotland. What is unusual is that nearly…

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