The first NHS gambling clinic for children is opening amid growing concern that the rise of online gaming sites and targeted adverts is fuelling a problem among young people. He furthermore purportedly detailed that hundreds of thousands of people in England now have a problem with gambling while up to a further two million may be at risk of developing a habit.
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, condemned the "fraction" spent by industry on helping those struggling with addiction compared to the amount spent on advertising and marketing.
"This action shows just how seriously the NHS takes the threat of gambling addiction, even in young people, but we need to be clear - tackling mental ill health caused by addiction is everyone's responsibility - especially those firms that directly contribute to the problem". Once referred to a clinic, psychiatrists and clinical psychologists will work with patients who could have a range of complex gambling related difficulties, including mental health difficulties and a lengthy period of problem gambling with little or no abstinence. "These new specialist services, delivered as part of our NHS Long Term Plan, demonstrate the Government's commitment to tackle the danger problem gambling can pose and my determination to ensure society's most vulnerable are protected".
"This move to help young people afflicted with this problem is welcome. But the industry really needs to be chastised for their open and blatant exploitation of gambling addicts of all ages". Increased voluntary contributions proposed by some gambling companies will not provide the sustained independent funding needed by the NHS. The National Problem Gambling Clinic in London will also offer specialist help for children and young people aged 13 to 25 as part of an expansion which will also ramp up treatment for adults.
The Sunderland Clinic forms part of the NHS launch of 14 gambling harm-specific clinics across the United Kingdom, developed with the aim of identifying and tackling "problem gambling behaviours" amongst younger individuals.
Betting firms could be taxed to pay for gambling addiction treatment, the head of the NHS has said, warning "the sums don't add up" when it comes to the human cost.
Across the city, between seven and eight per cent of the population are either problem or risk gamblers, the study from Leeds Beckett University found, prompting the launch of a new NHS Leeds Gambling Support Hub to be opened in the city this summer.