NHS to double number of gambling clinics

The NHS is to open seven new gambling clinics this summer to cope with ‘record’ demand, it has announced. The new clinics will take the total number to 15.

Last year saw around 1,400 people referred for help with gambling issues, almost a third up on the previous year and a four fifths increase on the year before that. The new treatment centres will be in Blackpool, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, Sheffield and Thurrock, and offer CBT, family therapy and aftercare, NHS England states, bringing the treatment capacity across all 15 clinics to 3,000 people a year.

Amanda Pritchard: ‘Record numbers are coming to the NHS for help.’

The Gambling Commission estimates the number of problem gamblers at almost 140,000, with the government’s recent – and much delayed – gambling white paper criticised by campaigners for failing to include meaningful measures to tackle advertising and marketing (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/lukewarm-response-to-gambling-white-paper/).  

‘In 1948 when the NHS was founded, you had to go to a bookies to place a bet, but now people can gamble on their phone at the touch of a button and everyone, young and old, is bombarded with adverts encouraging them to take part,’ said NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard. ‘Record numbers of people are coming to the NHS for help to treat their gambling addiction, a cruel disease which has the power to destroy people’s lives, with referrals up by more than a third compared to last year.’

Neil O’Brien: ‘Gambling companies will pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services.’

‘The stark rise in the number of people seeking NHS treatment for gambling-related harms shows the devastating impact it can have on people’s lives and health,’ added public health minister Neil O’Brien. ‘These new clinics will bring vital support to more parts of the country, so thousands more people can get the help they need. We have taken firm action to tackle gambling-related harms through our white paper, which includes our commitment to introduce a statutory levy so gambling companies pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services.’

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