Minutes from SIG meeting (Wales) - 16 November 2021
Time: 14:00 - 16:00
Location: Microsoft Teams
Chair for the meeting: Helen Rhodes (HR) (Gambling Commission - GC)
- Stephanie Barnhouse (SB) (Welsh Government - WG)
- Professor Simon Dymond (SD) (Swansea University)
- Dr Hermine Graham (HG) (Advisory Board for Safer Gambling - ABSG)
- Sarah Johns (SJ) (Pembrokeshire Country Council)
- Neil Jones (NJ) (Cardiff and Vale UHB)
- Deborah Lewis (DL) (Welsh Government)
- Teresa Owen (TO) (Public Health Wales - PHW/Betsi Cadwaladr UHB)
- Alice Puchades (AP) (PHW), Simon Wilkinson (SW) (Welsh Local Government Association - WLGA)
- Dr Emma Ryan (ER), Sharon Fernandez (SF)
- Annabel Agbo (AA) (Primary Care Gambling Service – PCGS) (All for that Item on the agenda)
Gambling Commission staff names other than for Leadership Team members have been redacted.
1.1 Introductions were made, and members explained their roles.
2. Minutes from the last meeting
2.1 The Group reviewed the minutes from the last meeting, and these were agreed.
Action: GC to publish the minutes of meeting on the SIG for Wales webpages.
3. Updates on progress and developments since the last meeting
3.1 The Group went through the actions of previous meeting noting the outstanding actions and ongoing actions for future meetings.
3.2 The Chair provided an update on the Actions Map and asked members to provide feedback on how useful the AM is for them.
Action: Group members to review the National Strategy Actions Map and to provide feedback on how useful the AM is for them.
3.3 WG had continued to engage with Public Health Wales (PHW) contacts and hoped that they would be able to engage more fully with the Group moving forward.
3.4 The Group discussed the progress of the Government’s Gambling Act Review, with the planned publication of the White Paper in early 2022.
Action: GC and WG to advise members of the Group on the status of the Gambling Act Review process as it moved forward.
4. Primary Care Gambling Service (PCGS) and related activity
4.1 Colleagues joined the meeting to talk about the PCGS which launched in October 2019 with funding facilitated by the Commission from regulatory settlements. The project’s aim was to set up a GP led multi-disciplinary service that would sit between existing voluntary care organisations and specialist care services to treat people with gambling related harms.
4.2 The project’s main source of referrals had been through the National Gambling Helpline (operated by GamCare). Covid restrictions meant GPs are currently asked to use screening questions to help them to decide whether a patient needed to be referred into PCGS. Peer support group therapy is available to patients. PCGS has identified emerging trends including co-addictions, and wider social problems.
4.3 The project helped develop a Competency Framework to standardise the approach to gambling addiction across the primary care system.
4.4 During further discussion, complications due to Covid restrictions had placed increased workloads on health professionals were cited as delaying the project’s planned progress, but they were now re-engaging with health bodies. Members stressed the need for treatment to be available and accessible at a local level in terms of maximising treatment outcomes.
Action: GC to share copies of the presentation slides and contact information for the project to members of the Group.
5. Public Health England (PHE) “Gambling-related harms: evidence review”
5.1 The PHE evidence review has been published and over the last few weeks webinars have been held to share the findings. The report included some new content, including the estimated costs associated with suicide related to gambling. The report was published on the day prior to PHE being moved into a new organisation, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID).
5.2 Members commented that there were still questions about the difference in impacts of gambling harms between urban and rural areas, and what worked best in tackling them. The recent presentation by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) was highlighted in trying to offer insight into these issues.
5.3 Members commented that the review represented an impressive body of work that would be of much wider value. The Group noted that PHE intended to undertake further research to fill the gaps arising from the review and the process would be on-going.
Actions: GC to share slides and the link to the recording of the PHE webinar. GC to share the link to the “Current Advances in Gambling Research” Conference taking place 19th-20th May 2022 in Cardiff. Members of the Group to review the PHE documentation and consider whether there were specific learnings for addressing gambling related harms in Wales. GC would ask OHID colleagues to be involved in the research to join a future meeting to provide direct comment on the research. An agenda item would be added to allow this discussion.
6. Policing, Criminal Justice and the National Strategy
6.1 Due to the Police representative not being able to attend for operational reasons, this agenda item was rolled over to next meeting.
Action: To add Item on “Policing, Criminal Justice and the National Strategy – Discussion" to the agenda for the next meeting.
7. Agree next steps and plans for future meetings
7.1 The Group requested an agenda item on education initiatives related to gambling related and young people. A GambleAware funded education project in Scotland run by Fast Forward was discussed – its focus is on educating and awareness raising amongst children and young people which the Group expressed an interest in learning more about. GC was asked to facilitate a presentation from the project at the next meeting of the SIG.
7.2 WG indicated that the Welsh Government would welcome any information about project activity being run in other parts of GB which could help inform planned future project activity in Wales. The Group noted existing funding mechanisms.
7.3 The key actions from the meeting were:
- GC to publish the minutes of meeting on the SIG for Wales webpages
- group members to review the National Strategy Actions Map and to provide feedback on how useful the AM is for them
- GC and WG to advise members of the Group on the status of the Gambling Act Review process as it moved forward
- GC to share copies of the PCGS presentation slides and contact information for the project to members of the Group
- GC to share slides and the link to the recording of the PHE webinar
- GC to share the link to the “Current Advances in Gambling Research”. Conference taking place 19th-20th May 2022 in Cardiff
- members of the Group to review the PHE documentation and consider whether there were specific learnings for addressing gambling related harms in Wales. GC would ask OHID colleagues involved in the research to join a future meeting to provide direct comment on the research. An agenda item would be added to allow this discussion
- add Item on “Policing, Criminal Justice and the National Strategy – Discussion" to the agenda for the next meeting.
7.4 The themes agreed for discussion at future meetings are:
- Policing, Criminal Justice, and the National Strategy
- Gambling related education activity by Fast Forward focused on children and young people.