A King’s College London and GamCare research team has won NIHR funding to develop a ‘trigger’ question to identify people with gambling-related harm in adult social care services.
A King’s College London-led (KCL) and GamCare research team have announced their success in gaining National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Research for Social Care funding to develop a ‘trigger’ question to identify gambling related harms as part of people’s contact with Local Authority adult social care services.
Close to half of the British adult population gambles, with around two million being either classified as ‘problem gamblers’ or at risk of developing problems. Additionally, someone experiencing gambling problems could also negatively impact up to six other people. Local Authorities (LAs) are being asked by government to identify and support people experiencing gambling harms such as debt, mental health problems and possible homelessness. However, no method or tool has been scientifically assessed to do this.
The team plans to validate a new ‘trigger’ question which can be used with enquirers and service users, and test its effectiveness in three Local Authorities. This will enable people affected by gambling harm to be put in touch with support and to build up a picture of the numbers affected and potential costs to Local Authorities. This is important as there is currently a lack of data about gambling harm, despite substantial publicity about industry’s expansion during COVID-19 pandemic, and policy interest in the public health impacts of gambling.
The research team includes leading researchers from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King’s College London, experts from GamCare, the UK’s largest gambling support charity, the University of York, King’s College London’s Health Economics Department and Institute of Psychiatry, Dr Emily Finch, the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, the BetKnowmore gambling support charity, and international gambling expert Dr Heather Wardle.
Commenting on the news, project lead, Caroline Norrie, Research Fellow, KCL says: “This is only the second gambling related study to have been funded by the NIHR, so we are incredibly excited and also pleased to see gambling harm being recognised as an area where adult social care can play an important part in supporting people get the help they need.”
Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, says: “GamCare is delighted to work with the team on this programme. Developing a single question screening tool or ‘trigger question’ which can be implemented in a variety of settings is an essential part of better identifying gambling harms, so we can work together to address them as swiftly as possible. Giving professionals in adult social care settings the tools and confidence to open up conversations around gambling, risk and harm is a vital step to ensuring individuals, families and communities are able to access the right interventions at the right time to prevent harms from escalating.”