Recent advances in knowledge about effective administration of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has placed great emphasis on the importance of good training and supervision of those administering it. The American Psychiatric Associaton requires that doctors be specifically accredited before they are allowed to give ECT. In England and Wales training is much more informal and ECT is often given by junior doctors. Doctors rostered to administer ECT in Wales and in two areas of England were surveyed as part of the College's third audit of ECT. About two-thirds of respondents were at senior house officer level. The training in ECT appeared of variable quality and one-half had not been supervised by an experienced psychiatrist on the first occasion they administered ECT. Responses to exam-type questions revealed that 45% lacked knowledge about one or more basic issue related to effective administration of ECT.
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