The NHS and GambleAware have opened a new gambling clinic in Leeds.
The Northern Gambling Service clinic in Leeds opened today (September 18) and is the first gambling clinic to offer support outside of London. The clinic comes amid a partnership between the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT), charities GamCare and GambleAware as well as Leeds City Council.
According to reports, the clinic is being funded by GambleAware and is part of the NHS Northern Gambling Service funded by the NHS. The Northern Gambling Service clinic is the first of its kind with many more planned to follow within the coming years.
The new clinic will provide care for people with addictions and support for people with additional mental health conditions or those that may be at risk of suicide. The service will also reportedly provide help to family and friends.
What’s more, GamCare will also educate Leeds residents on the prevention and treatment for gambling harm while training health staff to identify people who are in need of help and support.
Speaking about the new clinic, Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, 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.”
He continued: “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 thanks to this Government’s historic commitment of £33.9 billion extra taxpayers’ money – the largest and longest cash settlement in the history of the NHS.”
Matt Gaskell, the Consultant Psychologist and Clinical Lead for Addictions at the LYPFT, added: “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.”
Anna Hemmings, the CEO at GameCare, said: “A wide range of needs arise from gambling-related harms, which can impact 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.”
News of the Leeds clinic comes as the UK Gambling Commission continues to introduce new rules to protect players. Last month, the Commission launched a 12-week consultation on credit card use at online casinos. The regulator was also forced to reiterate its commitment to reduce gambling harm after a study highlighted a link between suicidal thoughts and gambling addictions.