The new specialist problem gambling treatment centre is backed by the UK’s National Health Service.
UK.- The National Health Service (NHS) has opened a new specialist problem gambling treatment centre in London.
The Primary Care Gambling Service (PCGS) has been developed by the Hurley Group NHS general practice partnership, to provide help for adults who suffer from gambling-related problems.
Funded by the charity GambleAware, it has developed an integrated care pathway with GamCare and will also help to train general practitioners in the UK to help identify gambling problems in their patients.
The centre will work with the National Gambling Treatment Service and will be led by Dr Clare Gerada, backed by a team of mental health nurses, general practitioners, specialist treatment practitioners and therapists.
De Gerada said: “There is evidence that many people who have problems related to gambling are in contact with their GP, but don’t necessarily talk about their gambling.
“We will be exploring how to identify them, and how to help them get access to the treatment that is right for them. We know from other areas of work that people value the option of getting treatment in primary care settings.”
While the service will cover Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich in South East London, it plans to expand to other London boroughs in the near future.
The PCGS will also work with the Royal College of General Practitioners to develop a competency framework for treating gambling problems in primary care, setting out what skills and experience practitioners in the field should have.
Michael Mulholland, Professional Development Officer lead for the Royal College of General Practitioners, said: “We welcome the development of a competency framework for gambling treatment in primary care. This will help GPs and other primary care workers to develop their skills in treating people who are harmed through gambling.”
Anna van der Gaag, Chair of the Advisory Board for Safer Gambling, added: “This new initiative is very significant in expanding the treatment options for people who have experienced harm from gambling and for their families. We want treatment to be as accessible as possible and to remove the barriers that might exist for people seeking help.
“This is one of a number of initiatives that move us to a more joined up approach and I look forward to the lessons we can learn from this work about how we can scale up provision.”
GambleAware meanwhile is to renew its #BetRegret campaign to raise awareness of impulsive betting. It will launch content on YouTube, Twitter and other digital channels. It will also promote the National Gambling Treatment Service with ads on radio, and print and digital media through the summer carrying the message “Start to regain control”.
Earlier this week GambleAware called for UK Finance to press for payment providers to develop standardised gambling blockers.