Yesterday, Prime Minister Theresa May rolled out the new 10-year strategy for the National Health Service (NHS). According to the NHS plan, the British Government seems to be looking to expand prevention and treatment services coverage provided to problem gamblers.
Prime Minister May herself described the launch of the NHS Long Term Plan as a “historic step” to secure the strategy’s future.
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) January 7, 2019
For the time being, there is only one NHS clinic which specialises in problem gambling in the UK, which is operated by Central & North West London NHS Foundation Trust. A second clinic is expected to start operation in Leeds in April 2019.
The strategy revealed that the Government intends to make further investments to increase the number of NHS specialist clinics aimed at helping more individuals who suffer from compulsive gambling behaviour. The document reminded that currently, there are more than 400,000 people in the UK who are categorised as problem gamblers, with another 2,000,000 people considered at risk of getting addicted to gambling. Unfortunately, only a small number of these people actually get the necessary treatment through the above-mentioned national clinic.
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) January 7, 2019
The Long Term Plan for the NHS, which was published yesterday, revealed that an additional amount of more than £20 billion will be spent on the health service by 2023.
This is exactly the reason why the Government of Theresa May decided to expand the geographical coverage of NHS services provided to people who face the negative consequences and effects of their compulsive gambling. At a time when more young people are getting involved with gambling, the extra £20.5-billion NHS funding would be a great, as it would help both people at risk and the ones who are already dealing with gambling-related harm go through the mental health problems they experience.
Both London and Leeds Clinics Are Backed by GambleAware
As mentioned above, a second NHS clinic is set to open in Leeds this April. The annual expenditure of up to £1.2 million for the clinic’s development has been given the nod by the charity organisation GambleAware, which has also supported the operation based in London.
The Chief Executive Officer of Gamble Aware, Marc Etches, reminded that the charity has funded the existing National Problem Gambling Clinic. Mr Etches further shared that the organisation was very proud of the work which the clinic has done so far, and especially of the treatment it provides to gambling addicts.
Labour Party’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson commented that it was a good thing that the UK Government takes proactive measures to help people suffering the negative impact of gambling on their lives, but gambling businesses should also contribute to the cost of the addicts’ treatment. According to him, gambling operators need to be more responsible when it comes to the potential harm caused b their products to society.