NHS will stop accepting cash from the gambling industry for addiction treatment

United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) England is set to stop receiving cash from the gambling industry to treat people suffering from addiction.

Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, has informed the granting charity Gamble Aware that NHS will fully invest in its own gambling service from April 1st.

The NHS is facing record support demand and is launching two new Gamburg clinics in Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent. This brings the number of specialized clinics across the UK to seven.

The funding decision was “significantly influenced” by patients who were uncomfortable with the use of services paid by the industry, Murdoch said. This has been well received by medical professionals.

According to GambleAware’s account, between April and December last year, voluntary donations from the gambling industry raised £ 16 million to fund a variety of treatment services.

These include the NHS Gamburg Linc, which received £ 1.2 million in 2020/21.

Last year’s overall voluntary pledge to Gamble Aware included £ 1m from William Hill, over £ 4m from Bet365 and £ 4m from Entain.

In April 2021, Murdoch should be forced to collect money to fund treatment as the Guardian’s gambling company made a profit during the pandemic, but left the NHS to “pick up fragments” of the addiction. Said.

In her new letter to the GambleAware, she was “capable of deploying treatment services faster than otherwise possible” with industry funding, while “other similar standards. I want to transfer the funds to general NHS funds. ” service”.

She added: “Our decision is strongly influenced by patients who have previously expressed concern about the use of services paid directly from the industry.

“In addition, our clinicians feel that there is a conflict of interest in clinics that are partially funded by resources from the gambling industry.

“The NHS cannot deal with the harm caused by gambling alone, nor can the NHS tackle this on its own.

“Therefore, we are committed to maintaining a constructive operational relationship with Gamble Aware to ensure that this change is implemented and we continue to cooperate in the development of tailored treatment systems.”

She said the NHS wants the industry to take “firm action” so that people don’t have to seek help from medical services.

“I hope you continue to join us to call for the gambling industry to be more regulated and taxed to generate public funds to deal with the harm of gambling,” she said. I added.

Two new clinics, Southampton and Stoke-on-Trent, will open in May to join the London, Leeds, Manchester and Thunderland clinics and the London Children’s and Youth clinics run as pilots.

All services will be evaluated later this year, which could lead to more clinics.

According to the NHS England, between April and December last year, 668 people with the most serious gambling addiction problems were referred to the NHS gambling addiction clinic. This is an increase of 16.2% from 575 in the same period in 2020.

Northern England has the highest risk of gamblers, with 4.4% of adults in the northwest and 4.9% of adults in the northeast having the highest risk of addiction.

Overall, it is estimated that about 0.5% of the UK’s adult population, or about 246,000, are likely to have some form of gambling addiction, with 2.2 million at risk.

Murdoch said: “Gambling addiction is a cruel mental health condition that can devastate people’s lives.

“Opening two new gambling clinics in May as part of our £ 2.3 billion investment in mental health services means we can further help people with the most severe gambling addictions.

“The NHS has independently funded these clinics, recognizing the harmful effects of this addiction on the country’s mental health, and the predatory tactics from gambling companies. It is absolutely correct that it is part of the problem and not the solution. “

The industry makes more than £ 14 billion annually from gambling in the UK.

Health Minister Gillian Keegan said: “The negative effects of harmful gambling are enormous and widespread. It affects people’s savings, relationships and health.

“I protect people affected by gambling, including helping them treat and recover at specialized NHS gambling addiction clinics as part of the £ 15 million NHS long-term planned investment to expand these professional services. I’m working on doing it. “

A spokesperson for the Betting and Gaming Council promised an additional £ 100 million between 2019 and 2023 for research, education and treatment services managed by Gamble Aware, with the largest members promising that funding. It doesn’t say how it was used.

“Unlike the alcohol industry, which submits bills for alcohol-related issues to NHS, the gambling industry has been and will continue to be the majority funder of research, education and treatment of gambling harm for over 20 years. We will continue to do so, “said a spokeswoman. Said.

“According to the Gambling Addiction Commission, the incidence of gambling addiction has dropped from 0.6% to 0.3% in the 12 months to September last year, but to raise standards and promote safer gambling. As a further opportunity for, I strongly support gambling reviews. “

PA media


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