UKGC partners with NHS to improve problem gambling services in Wales

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is joining forces with a number of organisations in a bid to improve the range of services to reduce gambling-related harm in Wales.

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The UKGC led discussions along with the NHS Wales. © Pexels.

Representatives from the NHS, local authorities, sports bodies and existing treatment centres met this week to discuss how to help those suffering from problem gambling in the country.

The event was chaired by Dr Frank Atherton, chief medical office for Wales, and Neil McArthur, chief executive of the Gambling Commission.

The group discussed the current state of prevention and treatment services in Wales, public health messaging, gambling venues and research.

2016 figures from the UKGC showed that there are over 20,000 problem gamblers in Wales, along with a further 84,000 who are at risk of becoming problem gamblers.

Speaking about the issue, Neil McArthur said:

Gambling related harm is a complex and wide-ranging problem and consequently requires a joined-up approach from a number of different organisations. It’s encouraging to see so many different groups coming together today to help coordinate approaches to tackling harm. In our role as regulator we’ll continue to enforce standards we expect from gambling businesses – which includes stepping in when they spot gambling related harm – and we’ll continue to look for ways to make gambling safer but we can’t do this alone.Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive

As the Commission pushes into Wales, GambleAware has announced that it is to open a national gambling clinic in Scotland.

The clinic will be run in conjunction with the NHS and will help those with a “severe or complex” gambling addiction. Funding has been secured and the group are now searching for a venue.

News that the UK government would open further clinics was announced earlier this month. The government has given the NHS an extra £20.5bn until 2023 as part of its long-term NHS plan.

A clinic will open in Leeds sometime this year. The opening date of the clinic in Scotland is not known at this time.

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