Ketamine treatment service

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


Before treatment

You should continue to complete True Colours mood monitoring daily after your assessment and throughout your treatment and follow up.

On the day

On the day of your treatment please eat breakfast before coming, but little or no lunch. Do not take benzodiazepines or alcohol the night before or on the day of your treatment as this may reduce the benefit.

Before arriving in clinic you will need to complete a care plan form in PKB. This applies before every treatment.

Come with someone

You should arrange for someone to escort you to your appointment and advise them that you will need to stay in the clinic with them for 1 hour after treatment.

Where this may not be possible and you attend treatment unescorted you will have to stay in the clinic for a minimum of 2 hours after treatment before getting public transport home.

Under no circumstances are you permitted to drive away from the clinic after receiving ketamine treatment.

What treatment involves

You will arrive at the main reception of the Warneford Hospital and be directed to the ECT/ketamine department at the end of the main corridor.

You will be greeted by a member of the ketamine team and shown through to a treatment bay. The person accompanying you will be shown to the recovery area where they can wait and have a drink.

The person accompanying you be not allowed into the treatment area.

During the appointment a doctor puts a needle into a vein on the back of your hand and then arranges a pump to gradually infuse a low dose of ketamine over 40 minutes.

During the infusion you will be lying on a bed. A nurse will be present in the clinic at all times. Before, during and after the infusion we will check how you are feeling and ask you to describe and record any symptoms or side effects you may be experiencing.

You will remain on the bed until you are ready to get up, most people feel initially unsteady on their feet. You will be shown to a recovery area where the person accompanying you will be waiting and you will remain there until the end of your recovery time.

In the recovery area are facilities to make hot and cold drinks and biscuits. It is advised that you eat and drink something before leaving.

Before leaving, you will be asked to complete a care plan on PKB about your ketamine experience.

Filming or photography of any kind is not permitted at any time.

Preparing for treatment

It is normal to feel a little anxious or unsure before your treatment.

We recommend that you try and create a ‘peaceful mind’ before we start your infusion.

Using a breathing app on your phone or mindfulness techniques to focus on your breath and feeling calm can be helpful to do this.

We recommend that you bring relaxing music or sounds of sea, rain, wood sounds etc and headphones with you to listen to during your infusion. You may wish to bring a blindfold or something to put over your eyes to help you to relax during your treatment.

The side effects during your infusion can feel strange. Staff will encourage you to ‘let go’. Allow yourself to feel strange. Be curious about it. Try not to ‘fight’ these effects. Focus on your experience rather than what’s going on around you.

There are three bays in the clinic, separated by curtains. We do not have any private rooms. Other people will be having their treatment at the same time as you. We aim to create a quiet clinical environment; however, you may hear noises around you, such as the phone ringing and conversations with other patients.

Treatment after the first three infusions

Sometimes up to three further treatments may be needed to help us know whether you are a responder.

The options for further treatment after the initial series of infusions include:

  • Further intermittent infusions
  • Transfer to oral ketamine
  • Augmentation with other medication

The decision about the options for any further treatment will depend on a wide range of factors and will be discussed at your assessment. We cannot discuss this before your assessment.

Follow up

After the initial series of treatments, a telephone follow-up appointment will be arranged to discuss how your treatments have gone and further treatment options. This will be scheduled for about 3-4 weeks after your last infusion.

Please continue to complete True Colours throughout this period.

At the end of the initial series of infusions, a letter will be sent to the person who referred you and your GP with a summary of your treatment and suggestions for your ongoing care.

All patients receiving ongoing oral ketamine treatment must be reviewed in person by the ketamine clinic Consultant not less than every 4 months.

All patients receiving intermittent IV infusion treatment must be reviewed in person by the ketamine clinic Consultant not less than every 6 months

Follow-up appointments are for 30 minutes and must be paid for at least one week before the scheduled time.

Download information leaflet

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

or by post to:

Ketamine Clinic
Warneford Hospital

Version: Web 15 November 2018