Gambling addiction clinic to open in Sheffield as NHS faces record demand
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New figures show 1,400 patients were referred for help last year, an increase of more than a third on the previous 12 months and up by almost four fifths compared to two years ago.
The seven new clinics are in Milton Keynes, Thurrock, Bristol, Derby, Liverpool, Blackpool and Sheffield. They will treat people with serious addiction issues through cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, support groups and aftercare. Psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses and peer support workers also offer support to patients’ family members, partners, and carers.
There are already eight gambling harms clinics open in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Telford, as well as an additional national clinic, which treats both gambling and gaming addiction in children and young people, in London. The NHS plans to treat up to 3,000 patients a year across the 15 sites.
NHS chief executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “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.
“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.
“As it has done since 1948, the NHS is responding at speed and rolling out seven new gambling harms clinics across England, so that even more people can be supported by the NHS in their time of need.”
Around 138,000 people could be problem gambling according to Gambling Commission figures, with around a further 1.3 million people engaging in either moderate or low-risk gambling – although other research estimates that this figure could be higher.
Public Health minister Neil O’ Brien, said: “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."