About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland presents a summary of the Scottish Electroconvulsive therapy Accreditation Network (SEAN) data for 2020.

A full SEAN annual report on 2020 data has not been possible due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with staff reallocated to different areas within Public Health Scotland for prioritised COVID-19 work.

Main points

  • 54% of episodes were completed as planned in 2020, compared to the revised figure of 65% in 2019. It is likely that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shortened, as well as disrupted, some treatment episodes, resulting in this reduction in the proportion of episodes completed as planned.
  • Compared to 2019, there was a small increase (18% from 15%) in patients receiving
    life-saving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Possible reasons for this include the revised indications for ECT in the context of reduced ECT capacity, infection control and social distancing.
Image caption Percentage of total patients treated by age group and sex (2020)


The Scottish Electroconvulsive Therapy Audit Network (SEAN) began in 1996 as a national audit project examining the clinical practice of ECT in Scotland. It is now an established clinical network and accreditation service.

SEAN engages support from a variety of clinical staff, including consultant psychiatrists, consultant anaesthetists, clinical psychologists, ECT nurses, operating department practitioners and recovery nurses. Importantly, we also actively encourage service users and carers to contribute to the work of SEAN to ensure that views of patients and relatives are included.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 29 November 2022.

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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