New problem gambling treatment centre opens in London

A new problem gambling treatment centre has opened in London.

A new National Health Service (NHS) Primary Care Gambling Service (PCGS) which offers help to adults who have gambling-related problems via GP surgeries has launched in London.

The new service will initially focus on the South East London area, specifically Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. There are also plans to expand the service in the coming months.

London’s new PCGS

The new service was developed by the Hurley Group, an NHS GP partnership, and is being led by Dr Clare Gerada. A multidisciplinary team of GPs, mental health nurses, therapists and treatment practitioners will also support the new service.

The PCGS will also work with and alongside the National Gambling Treatment Service to support people who need treatment for their gambling habits. As part of this, the PCGS has worked with the gambling industry’s charity, GamCare, to develop an integrated care pathway.

The PCGS is also developing a competency framework for gambling treatment in primary care, which is being funded by GambleAware. This new framework will outline the skills and experiences needed for practitioners in the field. The project is being taken forward in partnership with the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Announcing the new service, Dr Clare 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.”

Michael Mulholland, Professional Development Officer Lead of the Royal College of General Practitioners said: “The RCGP welcomes 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 said: “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.”

Responsible gambling campaigns

This comes as the charity GambleAware launched two new safer gambling initiatives to help raise awareness for its Safer Gambling Campaign and the National Gambling Treatment Service.

The campaign will focus on encouraging people to think twice before betting, building upon the charity’s existing #BetRegret initiative. The campaign’s new content will run on Sky’s YouTube channel, Twitter page and other digital platforms.

At the same time, GambleAware will promote the National Gambling Treatment Service by running new advertisements across digital platforms, radio broadcasts, national and regional press through July and August.

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