New NHS Clinic for Gambling Addiction Opens in Leeds
by Glenn Baird - September 19, 2019
The first gambling support clinic in the UK outside of its capital opened yesterday, serving an area where a reported 10,000 people suffer from gambling addiction.
This is the first of 14 gambling clinics to be opened in the UK, with plans for one in Sunderland and Manchester already well underway. It was also announced earlier in the year that a clinic would be opening in the UK that will specifically cater for children with gambling addictions.
The clinic has been funded primarily by the charity GambleAware, who are working closely with the NHS to set facilities up throughout the country.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said: “Problem gambling is an addiction which ruins lives for thousands of people and their families.
“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.”
In 2013, local team, Headingley AFC lost one of their players, Lewis Keogh after he took his own life, a heart-breaking result of the suffering that problem gambling had on his life.
The service that has been set up aims to support people like Lewis in an attempt to prevent more tragedies like his.
Mr Hancock added: “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.”
Consultant psychologist & clinical lead for addictions, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation NHS Trusts, Matt Gaskell welcomes the clinic, stating:
“Over the years I’ve seen the harm that problem gambling can inflict on people. 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.”
The CEO at GamCare, Anna Hemmings adds: “A wide range of needs arise from gambling-related harms, which can impact on mental health and wellbeing.
“For those affected by disordered gambling, our treatment services can offer valuable support and we’d encourage people to get in touch early and not to let problems get to crisis point.”
Leeds City Council have also provided a statement with Councillor Debra Coupar saying: “Around 10,000 people in Leeds are affected by problem gambling, which can damage people’s lives, significantly affect their health and have a huge impact on families, loved ones, and communities.
“Leeds prides itself on being a compassionate city. We want to support vulnerable people and improve the health of the poorest the fastest. These innovative support services are an important step forward in providing the education, training and support which is so desperately needed.”