The NHS has announced the launch of seven additional clinics this summer in order to fulfil the growing demand for gambling addiction services. The NHS’s chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, announced the expansion plans in response to an increase in the number of people seeking care for gambling-related harms.
According to recent NHS data, there has been a considerable increase in referrals for gambling addiction therapy, with around 1,400 patients sent for help just last year. This marks a roughly 80% increase over the previous year and a more than one-third increase over two years earlier.
The new clinics will be located in Milton Keynes, Thurrock, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Blackpool, and Sheffield, among other places. These new clinics will be added to the existing eight gambling harms clinics in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Telford, as well as the national clinic in London, which covers both gambling and gaming addiction in children and young people.
The NHS expects to treat up to 3,000 patients per year across 15 clinics, exceeding the target established in the NHS Long Term Plan six months early.
Amanda Pritchard emphasized the NHS’s ability to adapt to changing healthcare demands, recognizing the significant changes in the gaming scene since the NHS’s founding in 1948. She stated that, whereas betting used to involve a trip to a bookmaker, the accessibility of gambling via smartphones and the constant barrage of advertising has revolutionized the gambling environment, resulting in an increase in the number of persons seeking help for gambling addiction.
The expedited deployment of new gambling harms clinics across England demonstrates the NHS’s fast reaction to this expanding concern. According to Amanda Pritchard, the expansion seeks to guarantee that even more people may receive the required support from the NHS during their time of need.
According to the Gambling Commission, around 138,000 people in the UK may be addicted to gambling, with a further 1.3 million people engaging in either moderate or low-risk gaming. Alternative study, however, reveals that the actual number of impacted people may be larger.
One patient who received help from the Northern Gambling Harms Service recounted their story, emphasizing the transforming power of using NHS services. The person revealed how their gambling addiction had destroyed their life, leading to suicide thoughts and broken relationships. They were able to restore control, rebuild trust with loved ones, and create healthy connections with the help of NHS support.
The new clinics will provide a variety of treatment alternatives, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, support groups, and aftercare. Patients and their families will receive complete care from a dedicated team of mental health specialists, including psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses, and peer support workers.
Claire Murdoch, NHS mental health director, emphasized the negative effects of addiction on people’s life and urged those battling with gambling addiction to get assistance. She also advocated for more action to safeguard young people from the influence of gambling marketing during sporting events, recognizing the White Paper on gambling-related harms as a step forward.
Neil O’Brien, Minister of Public Health, echoed worries about the impact of gambling addiction on individuals’ well-being and commended the launch of new clinics across the country. He emphasized the government’s commitment to combating gaming-related problems through measures such as the implementation of a legislative fee, which ensures that gambling corporations pay their fair part of treatment expenses.
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