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FinancialIndustry

NHS considers cutting gambling industry funding

The NHS is prepared to cut gambling industry funding for its addiction clinics over conflict-of-interest concerns.

NHSMoney

According to The Sunday Times, sources close to negotiations said, “the decision is to be rubber-stamped this week, so ties are cut for the new financial year.”

This development would see the NHS sever its links with industry-funded charity GambleAware, which granted an estimated £1.2m ($1.6m) to the public health body in the year to March 2021.

The charity operates problem gambling research, education and treatment (RET) programmes, and in 2019, co-funded the launch of a dedicated clinic in Leeds with the NHS.

They went on to open clinics in London, Manchester and Sunderland, but the public health body’s decision could jeopardise their work.

Gambling industry funding has long been a controversial topic for the NHS. Previously, Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director for NHS England, had said gambling firms must pay more towards addiction treatment, and mooted a compulsory levy. But her suggestion was a far cry from severing ties completely.

Nevertheless, some welcome this decision, including Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones, Director of the National Problem Gambling Clinic (NPGC).

“We as NHS clinicians have been asking for a very long time for independence of funding from industry. And we are very hopeful that this is an imminent announcement to come,” she said, as reported by The Sunday Times.

An NHS spokeswoman said no final decision has been made. This news also comes as GambleAware launches Britain’s first-ever gambling harm reduction campaign specifically aimed at women.

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