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Ketamine treatment service

Find out about our paid-for ketamine treatment service for depression

Assessment

Referrals

In order to have an assessment appointment you will need to get your GP or psychiatrist to send a referral to the Ketamine Clinic. 

This must include information about:

  • your physical and mental health
  • your previous and current treatments
  • copies of any correspondence about your mental health such as letters from other teams

Incomplete referrals

If sufficient information is not included in your referral your appointment is likely to be delayed whilst further information is sought from your referrer.

If your referrer does not have immediate access to documents detailing your previous contact with mental health service, we suggest that you request copies of such material from previous doctors whom you have seen and forward it to the doctor who you wish to refer to us.

Pre-treatment assessment

Before treatment you will be assessed in an outpatient appointment to confirm your suitability for treatment.

Assessments take place on a Friday afternoon. 

You will be assessed either by Professor Rupert McShane MD FRCPsych or by another experienced consultant psychiatrist in his team. 

Rupert McShane is a consultant psychiatrist who works at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and undertakes clinical research at the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry.

Criteria for treatment

Patients must:

  • currently be suffering from depression
  • have tried at least two different types of antidepressants for at least six weeks each at an adequate treatment dose
  • have tried at least one type of psychological treatment
  • be referred to the service by a GP or psychiatrist
  • be able to travel safely for treatment and assessment appointments
  • be willing and able to send regular depression ratings by either email or SMS texting
  • be willing and able to complete regular questionnaires online, or have someone who can help them do this if needed
  • be able to understand the nature and purpose of the treatment, its benefits and possible side effects

Normally you should not take ketamine if you have:

  • Raised pressure within the skull (your doctor will know if this is the case)
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Raised pressure inside the eye (glaucoma)
  • Recent history of epilepsy
  • Current or recent history of psychosis
  • History of drug or medication induced manic episodes
  • Taken any illegal drugs for at least the last two years, including cannabis
  • Are pregnant, breast feeding, undergoing IVF or trying to conceive
  • Cannot abstain from alcohol for at least three days

Treatment schedule

Initial treatment consists of three ketamine infusions over three weeks.

Assessments are on Friday afternoons and treatments are on Monday afternoons.

Before an assessment appointment

Once we receive a referral we will check to see that we have the information from your doctor that we require. If not, we will contact you or your GP for further information.

We will then telephone you to set up an assessment appointment and obtain an email address to which a confirmation letter will be sent. 

The email will also include information about a mood monitoring system True Colours and our paperless notes system Patients Know Best (PKB). 

We will then register you for True Colours and PKB. It is essential that you start using True Colours before your appointment.

You must complete all the forms within PKB as directed at least 7 days before your appointment.

At the assessment appointment

At the appointment, which will be held at Warneford Hospital, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7JX, we will:

  • review the documents received from your referrer
  • review the PKB forms
  • review the True Colours monitoring data
  • talk to you in detail about your depression
  • assess and help you to manage your expectations of treatment
  • ask whether you are happy to be contacted about future research
  • take your blood pressure
  • weigh you
  • take a blood test

If the doctor judges that the treatment would be suitable in your case. We will ask you to complete a treatment consent form on PKB. This confirms that you have read the information leaflet, which exactly reflects the content of this website, understand the possible side effects and recognise that ketamine is not licensed for the treatment of depression

After the assessment appointment

If the consultant judges that the treatment would be suitable in your case we will schedule three infusions of ketamine. This is sufficient to ascertain whether you are a ‘responder’. 

Often people do not experience a response until after the second or third infusion. The dose of ketamine may be adjusted up or down, during the course of your treatments.

Depending on waiting times, there may be a significant delay before your infusions can be scheduled. Three infusions will be scheduled on Monday afternoons over no more than four weeks.

We will write to the person who referred you after your assessment, copying in your GP unless you direct otherwise.

You will then receive an email with a letter attached detailing the dates and times of your ketamine appointments.

Download information leaflet

PDF file. Requires pdf reader

Referrals

Your psychiatrist or GP should send a send a referral letter, preferably by email to:

KetamineClinic@oxfordhealth.nhs.uk

or by post to:

Referrals
Ketamine Clinic
Warneford Hospital
Headington
Oxford
OX3 7JX

Version: Web 15 November 2018

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