Department of Health

Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT)

Chief Psychiatrist’s guideline, reporting directive and form for Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) under the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 – effective 1 September 2023.

This Chief Psychiatrist’s guideline on Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) considers the requirements of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 for providing ECT in relation to both those patients who are receiving compulsory treatment and voluntary ECT. Clinical mental health service providers should use this guideline, together with contemporary legislation, to inform local policy and practice.

The purpose of this guideline is to:

  • provide guidance about the prescription and performance of ECT to Victorian clinical mental health service providers
  • summarise issues relating to human rights, consent to ECT and the role of the Mental Health Tribunal
  • highlight the importance of working collaboratively and respectfully with consumers, carers, families and supporters
  • collate information about the standards set by national agencies and medical colleges for the physical facilities, staffing levels and equipment needed to deliver ECT safely
  • describe the educational, quality improvement, reporting activities and governance arrangements for enhancing treatment standards.

This Chief Psychiatrist’s Electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) guideline is an update to the 2019 guideline and details best practice standards for:

  • pre-treatment assessment
  • supporting people, including young people, families, carers and supporters, before, during and after treatment
  • interactions with the Mental Health Tribunal
  • service governance requirements
  • quality safeguards.

Chief Psychiatrist’s reporting directive

This Chief Psychiatrist’s reporting directive informs designated mental health services on all reporting requirements for Electroconvulsive treatment to the Chief Psychiatrist.

Electroconvulsive Treatment (ECT) serious adverse event reporting form

In the event of a serious adverse event, the Chief Psychiatrist is to be notified and designated mental health services need to complete this form and submit to the Chief Psychiatrist.

Reviewed 25 October 2023


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Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

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