Who we are

We’re a small team of specialist doctors and nurses based at the Neuromodulation Suite at Knowsley Resource and Recovery Centre providing neuromodulation treatments (ECT and rTMS) for Mersey Care service users. We’re one of the few NHS neuromodulation services in the country and the only service with a purpose built suite in the north of England. Neuromodulation treatments are one of a range of options available and are part of an individualised biopsychosocial approach to severe and enduring mental illnesses.

We’re committed to providing a full range of treatments for people with severe and/or difficult to treat depression which can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and general health. The more severe types of depression can become life threatening conditions.

How to access our services

Referrals can only be accepted through a consultant psychiatrist for service users who are already in the care of Mersey Care.

rTMS is a treatment option for people who suffer with difficult to treat depression. It involves stimulating the brain with very brief magnetic pulses given while the person is awake.

It has been approved by NICE as a treatment for difficult to treat depression. It’s typically used when people have not been helped by antidepressants or psychological therapies. It can also be used if people are unable to tolerate medication or feel that psychological therapies are not for them.

Typically, it's given daily for five days a week for four to six weeks. Each treatment session takes between half an hour and an hour. People having rTMS will usually be at home and come to the department just for their treatment

rTMS requires no anaesthetic and the person is awake throughout their treatment. They can talk to staff, read a book, or simply listen to music.

It also has no effect on memory or other aspect of brain function. People having it can arrive by car and drive themselves home should they wish.

ECT is a treatment for some types of severe mental illness and illnesses that have not responded to other treatments. It may also be considered as a ‘first line’ treatment for some people. It's mostly used in severe depression.

It is given in our special Neuromodulation Suite at Knowsley Resource and Recovery Centre. ECT is given as a course of treatments twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, typically for three to six weeks.

Before each treatment, an anaesthetic and muscle relaxant are given, and then a brief electric current is used to cause a controlled fit typically lasting less than 60 seconds.

The anaesthetic means the person is asleep while this happens, while the muscle relaxant reduces the movement of the fit.

People having ECT are often in hospital due to the severity of their illness, though we also treat patients who are at home and come to the suite as a day patient.

Before starting ECT, people will be seen by a specialist consultant anaesthetist to ensure they are physically OK for it. During the course, they will be reviewed every week by their consultant psychiatrist, and before each treatment by the ECT team.

We can provide advice, and information sheets, for clinicians and service users with detail about the pros and cons of our treatments and how they are given. Information sheets about the treatments are included on this webpage, which we can also provide in other languages and in easier to read formats.

If you’re a service user who feels our treatments may be of benefit, please speak to your doctor, community mental health practitioner or another member of your care team. If you’re not in the care of Mersey Care, please speak to your GP in the first instance.