The UK government has announced that it will be supporting the creation of new centres designed to support those with gambling addictions.
The clinics will form part of a £20.5 billion reorganisation of the NHS, and will offer access to mental health services and other advice for the 500,000 people estimated to have a gambling problem.
Currently only one clinic in the UK specialises in gambling addiction, and campaigners have long argued that this provision is insufficient.
Health Secretary Matthew Hancock has been given the task of overseeing the creation of the new clinics, which will be funded out of the increased NHS investment that the government has announced, amounting to over £20 billion by 2023.
Reacting to the news, the CEO of gambling charity GambleAware, Marc Etches, said that the government plans showed that the work done by the National Problem Gambling Clinic, which is funded by GambleAware, had underlined how important NHS input into the problem was, but that the charity would continue to offer services and assistance to gambling addicts:
“Too often, those with gambling addiction suffer in silence, which is why we will continue to work closely with the NHS to help make sure there are good links between the services we commission and those commissioned by the NHS.”
The government announcement is also likely to be welcomed by the gambling industry, which has been under fire in recent months for a perceived lack of action on tackling problem gambling.
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