The UK’s first gambling addiction service outside of London has launched today (18 September), with problem gamblers now able to access care at a new facility in Leeds.
The new NHS service, run by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT), is being funded jointly by NHS England and GambleAware in an agreement worth around £1m a year. It is part of the NHS Northern Gambling Service, with further facilities in Manchester and Sunderland set to open in early 2020.
The service will provide care for those with severe addictions, and provide treatment and support for people with additional and complex mental health conditions, impaired social functioning and
those who may present with more risk – such as a risk of suicide.
In Leeds, LYPFT is working with national charity GamCare to provide the Leeds Community Gambling Service.
“Problem gambling is an addiction which ruins lives for thousands of people and their families,” Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said. “I am determined to do what I can to tackle it. No one’s access to support should depend on where they live, so we are expanding treatment outside of London to help addicts get the support they need to turn their lives around.
“As part of our NHS Long Term Plan, we will continue to roll out these specialist services across the country and undo the damage caused by gambling and protect our most vulnerable.”
People will 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.
Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, added: “Our aim is to prevent people getting into problems with their gambling, all the while making sure that those who do develop problems receive fast and effective treatment and support.
“These new services will play a vital role in making sure those with more serious and complex needs linked to gambling will have quick access to free, fast and effective treatment, wherever they may be. We very much look forward to seeing this clinic open and we would welcome the opportunity to potentially replicate this approach in other areas of the UK in the future.”