Gambling harm reduction services called for in Wales

Academics at Swansea University have called for the NHS to establish gambling harms services in the country. 

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Swansea University academics have voiced concern regarding the lack of treatment services available to those in Wales vulnerable to gambling harms, and that NHS gambling harms services must be established in Wales. Moreover, they have called for the issue to be addressed by the Welsh Government.  

In an article published called Frontiers in Psychiatry, academics highlighted how gambling harm referrals to the NHS have increased quarter-on-quarter, but there are still no gambling harms clinics in either Scotland or Wales, while there are 15 in England. This is despite a 2018 survey that concluded that 3.6% of individuals in Wales had experienced gambling harm – which the academics suspect has only risen alongside the growth in gambling participation, which has increased 11% between 2018 and 2022. 

This is corroborated by calls for increased gambling harms services in Scotland, with women noted as being a particularly overlooked demographic in the area.  

In 2022 Public Health Wales commissioned a Health Needs Assessment (HNA), which focused on the impact of gambling on Welsh people. The report noted that many facing gambling harms were unaware of support systems currently available, such as third-sector providers and charities, but also that there were ‘challenges surrounding the awareness, accessibility and acceptability of current gambling treatment and support provision in Wales.’  

One of the academics who worked on the article, Swansea University professor and Director of GREAT Network Wales, Simon Dymond, said: “We repeat our call for the Welsh Government and key stakeholders to put words into action and give the Welsh people a specialised gambling harms treatment service that meets their needs. 

“We need NHS investment in gambling harms services for Wales, now.” 

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