Electro-convulsive therapy review announced
Ministry of Health Director-General Dr Karen Poutasi today announced the membership of an independent review of
electro-convulsive therapy that will be carried out in line with health select committee recommendations made earlier in
Dr Poutasi said the review would look at the safety and effectiveness of electro-convulsive therapy and the adequacy of
current regulatory controls on its use.
The review will be led by Auckland University geriatrics and neurology professor Craig Anderson, Otago University law
professor Peter Skegg and mental health consumer expert Ranui Wilson, and will be completed within a year.
"Professor Anderson's expertise is in evidence-based health care and research and in development of evidence-based
guidelines. Professor Skegg has expertise in medical law and ethics, and Ranui Wilson has considerable experience as a
consumer advisor and service auditor," Dr Poutasi said.
The review will incorporate evidence-based reviews, advice from a panel of expert advisors, international peer review
and an opportunity for public input on a draft report for consultation prior to finalisation. The review's terms of
reference are attached.
A Ministry audit of technical aspects of electro-convulsive therapy delivery in New Zealand will be completed and
published in late January. Preliminary findings from the audit are that the therapy was being safely delivered, but
improvements could be made in providing information and support to people receiving electro-convulsive therapy and their
families, and in staff training and monitoring in some DHBs.
Recommendations to address these matters will be detailed when the report is released early next year.
Terms of Reference
The review team will:
• produce a comprehensive review of the literature, including “grey” and other non-medical literature where appropriate,
on the efficacy and safety of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in the range of disorders for which it may be used
• produce a review of the literature, the Acts of Parliament and relevant current practices on regulation of the use of
ECT in New Zealand and in other like nations
• on the basis of the available evidence, informed by credible advice, produce a draft report on the safety and efficacy
of ECT and the adequacy of regulatory controls on its use, including compulsory use, in New Zealand
• consider feedback received from the public and relevant organisations on the draft report, and amend the report where
• provide a final written report of the Reviewers to the Minister of Health, including any recommendations for changes
to the regulatory environment for ECT delivery.
The work will draw on the advice of a panel of experts in areas including psychiatry, neuropsychology, mental health
consumer issues, Maori and Pacific cultural issues, mental health law, human rights, ECT delivery and primary health,
and will be subject to international peer review.