A new, fully integrated support service for people with gambling problems is launching in Leeds.
The Leeds Community Gambling Service is the first gambling support service of its kind and involves an ambitious collaboration between GamCare, local treatment partner NECA, the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) and Leeds City Council.
The new integrated service in Leeds is being funded by national charity GambleAware, and will form part of the wider NHS Northern Gambling Service funded by NHS England.
The NHS Northern Gambling 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. Services will also support family and friends who have been impacted by gambling harms.
In Leeds local residents will benefit from additional prevention, education and treatment for gambling harm provided by GamCare. We will deliver training, outreach and prevention work across the Leeds area to ensure that other local services are aware of how gambling problems may impact their clients, as well as how they can seamlessly refer into dedicated support services. Training will also benefit local primary care and local authority staff in identifying people in need of help and support at all stages – be it before entering treatment, during or after.
GamCare and LYPFT have taken a unified approach to make sure people across the whole spectrum of need are able to access the necessary help and support quickly and easily. The variety of services available will also provide organisations with much-needed insight to help continuously improve treatment for gambling problems elsewhere across the UK.
Marc Etches, Chief Executive of GambleAware said:
“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. We are delighted to be commissioning this new integrated service, delivered by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with GamCare. 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.”
Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, says:
“A wide range of needs arise from gambling-related harms, which can impact on mental health and wellbeing and often creates a sense of isolation for those affected. The range of services we provide can significantly improve quality of life and reduce the adverse impacts of gambling.
For those affected by disordered gambling, our treatment services can offer valuable support and we’d encourage people to get in touch as early as possible, not to let problems build up and get to crisis point.
GamCare is delighted to work in partnership with the NHS to deliver these services so that we can collectively have greater impact and reduce the harms caused through gambling.”
Matt Gaskell, Consultant Psychologist & Clinical Lead for Addictions, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation NHS Trusts, says:
“Through my work in mental health and addictions treatment over the years I’ve seen the harms that problem gambling can inflict on people. I’m proud to be involved in this much needed service. It is vital that we work together to provide a range of accessible and effective services to reduce these harms.
“Our services in Leeds and across the North of England will provide specialist addiction support and treatment to people affected by gambling addiction or disorder, as well as those with more complex mental health problems such as depression and suicidal feelings.”
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care says:
“Problem gambling is an addiction which ruins lives for thousands of people and their families and 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. This is all possible thanks to this Government’s historic commitment of £33.9bn extra taxpayers’ money – the largest and longest cash settlement in the history of the NHS.”
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said:
“Problem gambling can devastate lives and we are absolutely committed to protecting vulnerable people from the harm it can do. As well as prevention, getting the right treatment is key so I’m delighted the NHS is expanding its specialist support in the North of England.
“We have been clear that the gambling industry must be socially responsible. We have secured unprecedented commitments from the five major gambling operators, including £100 million to be spent on treatment and a ten-fold increase in their contributions towards research and education. This will also have an impact in tackling problem gambling.”
Claire Murdoch, NHS National Mental Health Director, says:
“Without the right help and support, problem gambling can spiral out of control and devastate people’s lives.
“New specialist services like this one, which are part of our NHS Long Term Plan, will undoubtedly make a huge difference. However tackling mental ill health caused by gambling addiction is everyone’s responsibility – especially the betting giants who reap massive profits from this misery and do not do enough to prevent it in the first place.”
Local GamCare treatment partner NECA and Leeds City Council championed and showed strong leadership and enthusiasm for the new treatment service to be housed in the city. This interest, plus the commitment to work collaboratively with the NHS and voluntary sectors to deliver support, raise awareness and develop more referral routes into treatment, heavily influenced the decision to host the service in the area.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council Deputy Leader and executive member for communities, says:
“Research shows that 10,000 people in Leeds are affected by problem gambling. We know that problem gambling is now a public health issue which can damage people’s lives and have a huge impact on families, loved ones, and communities.
“Leeds prides itself on being a compassionate city. As a council we recognise the importance of taking a partnership approach to developing services which support vulnerable people and improve the health of the poorest the fastest. These innovative gambling support services are an important step forward in providing the education, training and support which is so desperately needed.”
Leeds was selected as a suitable central hub location for gambling support services across the North of England as it will complement the existing GambleAware funded NHS National Gambling Treatment Service in London.
To find help and support across Leeds now contact the National Gambling HelpLine or visit www.gamcare.org.uk/leeds