Letter: Regional variation in electric shock therapy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is given to some 20,000 people in the United Kingdom every year. About 70 per cent of them are women. Over 2,000 of them are detained, non-consenting patients.

Someone living in, for example, the East Anglian or Wessex regions is more than twice as likely to receive ECT as someone living in the Oxford or South Western regions. A psychiatric patient in East Suffolk is more than three times as likely to receive ECT as a psychiatric patient in other districts in the East Anglian region.

Hugh Freeman (Letters, 15 December) says there is nothing surprising about such differences since different psychiatrists 'have to deal with very varying groups of patients'. But why should patients vary so much from one part of the country to another, or from one town to the next?

Yours faithfully,



18 December