New Gambling Treatment Clinics in England
Posted on 02 November, 2022 in Info
Two new gambling clinics opened in England this year, as the NHS faces up to record demand for specialist gambling addiction support.
Based in Southampton and Stoke-On-Trent, these new facilities take the total number of specialist clinics across England providing evidence-based treatment to support people with problem gambling to seven.
The other five are in London, Leeds, Manchester, and Sunderland, along with a national children and young person’s pilot clinic.
The north of England has the highest prevalence of at-risk gamblers, with 4.4% of adults in the North West and 4.9% in the North East being at the most risk of addiction. Between April and December last year, 668 people with the most severe gambling addiction issues were referred to NHS gambling clinics – up from 575 during the same period in 2020.
In February it was confirmed that the NHS would be fully funding its own gambling services from April, bringing the support in line with other NHS services. The decision followed feedback from patients and clinicians opposing the conflict of interest from the gambling industry, which generates profits of over £14 billion a year in the UK, in funding treatment for addiction.
Research published by Public Health England estimated around 0.5% of the adult population, around 246,000 people, are likely to have some form of gambling addiction with around 2.2 million people either problem gamblers or at risk of addiction.
The NHS also recently launched a new Gambling Harm Network and Clinical Reference Group, to enable clinical teams to share best practices for helping to treat gambling addiction.
Back in January 2020, NHS MentalHS mental health director Claire Murdoch wrote to gambling companies outlining actions they should take to improve the odds for people struggling with addiction. Other than the restriction of bets taken by credit cards, implemented when the Gambling Commission outlawed the practice, the gambling industry continues to offer customers VIP packages and streams live sports, all of which can be potentially harmful to those struggling with addiction.