NHS to Stop Receiving Funds From Gambling Industry
The NHS will stop taking funds from the gambling industry when it comes to treating gambling addicts.
Claire Murdoch, the NHS national mental health director declared that NHS would start funding their own gambling recovery services starting from April 1st. Last year, the industry has paid 16 million pounds to GambleAware to facilitate treatments for addicts. A fraction of these funds went directly to gambling addiction treatment clinics run by National Health Service.
The reason for this fundamental change stems from the opinion of patients that have been feeling quite uncomfortable to know that facilities were run using the gambling industry’s cash. Thus, leading to the termination of funding from GambleAware.
More than this, Murdoch said that clinicians were on the same line as patients, claiming that there are certain conflicts of interest when it comes to the funding program. It’s worth knowing that the gambling industry makes more than 14 billion pounds per year in the UK alone.
The NHS mental health director also wanted to address the fact that even though the industry funding has facilitated NHS to begin implementation of the treatment services faster than it would otherwise be possible, they are still looking to fund them using other sources.
She mentioned that “The NHS cannot address the harms caused by gambling alone, nor is it the NHS’s job to tackle this on its own”.
“We are therefore committed to maintaining a constructive operational relationship with GambleAware as this change is implemented and continuing to work together on developing a treatment system that is fit for purpose.”
In her statement, she also condemned the actions of the gambling industry stating that it should be “more heavily regulated and taxed” and that they will need to take “firm action” so that people will not count on the NHS as their help with recovering from gambling addiction.
More Than An Issue
A recent study has found that over 45% of people in the UK will gamble every month. This means that over 24 gamblers will show at the casinos steps once per month and half of them choose to do it at best online casinos. Even more than this, 20% of them have admitted to placing a bet more than twice per week.
It’s estimated that 0,5% of the UK population has a serious problem when it comes to gambling that can be classified as an addiction. This means that 246,000 people have already developed an addiction and another 2.2 million are at risk of becoming too.
The pandemic has also increased the number of gamblers substantially, especially in the top UK online casinos. The recent lock-downs have done nothing but worsen the situation for many addicts out there, spending more time home resulted in increased online gambling.
To combat the awful effects of gambling addictions, the NHS has declared that they are opening two more gambling clinics in Southampton and Stoke-On-Trent. The total investment was 2.3 billion pounds and their opening day will be set somewhere in May this year. This will raise the total number of gambling addiction treatment clinics in England to 7.
At last, Ms. Murdoch stated that these clinics will help even more people with their gambling problems and that it “is absolutely right that the NHS now funds these clinics independently, recognizing the harmful effects this addiction can have on the nation’s mental health”. She also spoke out against the predatory tactics that come from gambling companies, classifying them as a problem and not as a solution to this pandemic.