ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) is a psychiatric treatment approved by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence). You can read guidance for using ECT on the NICE website here.

We have two ECT teams covering the AWP service area in South West England:

  • Linden Unit at Callington Road Hospital, Bristol
  • Green Lane Hospital in Devizes, Wiltshire

We have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses who are specially trained in ECT, and an expert team from the anaesthetic department to provide the anaesthetic care.

ECT can provide rapid, significant improvements in severe symptoms of mental health conditions, including:

  • severe depression – especially when you are detached from reality (meaning you have psychosis), feeling actively suicidal or refusing to eat.
  • treatment-resistant depression – severe depression that does not improve with medications or other treatments.
  • severe mania – a state of intense euphoria, agitation or hyperactivity that occurs as part of bipolar disorder. Other signs of mania include impaired decision-making, impulsive or risky behaviour, substance abuse and psychosis.
  • catatonia – can describe a lack of movement, fast or strange movements, lack of speech and other symptoms. It is associated with schizophrenia and certain other psychiatric disorders. In some cases, catatonia is caused by a medical illness.

We might treat you if you are under section of the Mental Health Act (MHA), or a Community Treatment Order (CTO), where a responsible health care professional is supervising your care in the community, rather than as an inpatient. You can also choose to have ECT.

In some cases, we use ECT:

  • when you are pregnant. Other medications cannot be taken because they might harm the developing unborn baby.
  • when you are struggling to cope with a medication’s side effects.
  • when you would prefer ECT treatments to taking medications.
  • when ECT has been a successful treatment for you in the past.
  • when other forms of therapy have not worked for you.

We work closely with other teams in AWP, including inpatient wards and community teams. We also work with GPs and theatre staff to make sure the best plan of care is in place to suit your needs.

We offer treatment to people over the age of 18 years who have been referred to us. Under certain conditions, we can treat you if you are aged from 16 - 18 years.

We take referrals from inpatient and outpatient teams within AWP’s Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire services.

We may also take referrals from private hospitals or other NHS mental health trusts. We take these referrals if funding has been agreed by the referring organisation.

Visits to our clinics are by appointment only. Our clinic list is limited, so there might be a waiting list for treatment.