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NHS gambling addiction service expands with new North East clinic opening in Sunderland

The NHS Northern Gambling Service has opened a new base in the North East which will see and treat more of the thousands of people across the north of England suffering with gambling addiction.

The service’s new base at the Beacon of Light in Sunderland will be home to a Consultant Psychologist, Consultant Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist and Senior Mental Health Nurse. Alongside the 11-strong team in Leeds they will provide care for those with severe addictions. They will also provide treatment and support to people with additional and complex mental health conditions as well as those who may present with more risk – such as a risk of suicide.

In England* around 265,000 adults (0.4% of the population) are classified as higher risk problem gamblers, with around 2.4million (3.6%) classified as being “at risk” from developing a serious gambling problem. However, fewer than three per cent of those affected currently receive treatment or support.

The NHS Northern Gambling Service, run by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT), launched in September 2019. It is the first NHS gambling service of its kind to launch outside London. A further base covering the North West of England will soon be launched in Manchester.

The North East clinic is part of commitments made in the NHS Long Term Plan. In June 2019, NHS England announced it would be commissioning a network of new gambling addiction services for adults and children across the country as part of these commitments, although the NHS Northern Gambling Service will only be treating adults initially.

People can get support through psychological therapies, addiction treatment programmes, mental health treatment, family therapy and peer support from those whose lives have already been adversely affected by gambling. The Service can also offer separate support to family members and carers of those affected by problem gambling.

Consultant Psychologist Matthew Gaskell is the Clinical Lead for the new NHS Northern Gambling Service. He said: “I’m delighted to be opening our new base in Sunderland. This will help make our service more accessible to people in the North East where we know there are thousands of people who need our support.

“Gambling addiction is a new public health crisis. It’s causing serious harm to thousands of people across the UK. This includes mental health problems, serious debt, breakdown of relationships, loss of employment, crime, homelessness and sometimes suicide.

“Through my work in mental health and addictions treatment over the years I’ve seen the harms that problem gambling can inflict on people. However the chances of recovery from addictions like problem gambling can be very good with proper treatment. I often see people make good sustained recoveries when they seek help.

“The Northern Gambling Service works alongside many other agencies and charities to support people. We believe ‘any door is the right door’ and people can either refer themselves for help, or come to us via any of these agencies and charities.”

Claire Murdoch, NHS national director for mental health, said: “The NHS is constantly rising to meet new health challenges. We are fighting back against the misery of mental ill health caused by gambling addiction by rolling out new specialist clinics across the country, as part of our Long Term Plan.

“While the NHS will always be there for people – adapting, improving and increasing different and new treatments as our patients need them. The gambling industry, which rakes in billions of pounds from punters and spends vast amounts on aggressive marketing to reel ever more people in, really has to shoulder the blame and ensure a fair amount of its profits help those in need.”

To read how gambling affected one local man, you can read Steve’s story.

How to seek help from the NHS Northern Gambling Service

The NHS Northern Gambling Service works closely with a range of people and organisations including GPs, local councils, NHS trusts, national and local charities, Citizens’ Advice, the criminal justice system, debt agencies, substance misuse services and homeless agencies.

One of our core values is that ‘any door is the right door’ which means people can be referred in via a number of routes no matter where they are or who they are receiving help from. People can also self-refer.

More about . . .  

The NHS Northern Gambling Service

The NHS Northern Gambling Service is run by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and funded jointly by NHS England and GambleAware.

The Service spans the North East, North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and counties in the northern Midlands. It operates an approach of “every door is the right door” and works with partners across health, care and community settings. This includes GPs, NHS trusts, charity and third sector partners, local authority services, Citizens Advice, debt advice groups and gambling operators themselves which are statutorily obliged to support people with problem gambling. People can also self-refer confidentially. Find out more at www.leedsandyorkpft.nhs.uk/our-services/northern-gambling-service

* Problem gambling in England – Health Survey for England 2018 Adult’s health-related behaviours report

The Health Survey for England published in December 2019 estimates that:

  • Around 265,000 adults in England (0.4% of the population) are classified as higher risk problem gamblers
  • Around 2.4 million adults in England (3.6%) are classified as lower or moderate problem / at-risk gamblers.

Read the report here.

NHS England

NHS England leads the National Health Service (NHS) in England. Find out more at www.england.nhs.uk/about/.

GambleAware

GambleAware is the independent charity which funds research, prevention and treatment services to help to reduce gambling harms in Great Britain. For more information visit https://about.gambleaware.org

Contact the NHS Northern Gambling Service on 0300 300 1490, email: referral.ngs@nhs.net or visit their website to find out more.

A range of other options for people seeking help for gambling addiction can be found on the national NHS website at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/gambling-addiction.

8 January 2020

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