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National Strategy to Reduce Gambling Harms 2019 to 2022

The sole aim of this three-year (2019 to 2022) National Strategy was to move faster and go further to reduce gambling harms.

Realising the aim

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We support the positive moves by government departments and public health bodies across Great Britain to understand the nature of gambling alongside other forms of addiction, and also the nature and impact of gambling harms.

We welcome the commitment by NHS England to extend the reach of treatment. The wider work to reduce health inequalities will also need to continue in order to achieve NHS mental health and wellbeing outcomes, to develop new and strengthen existing partnerships, and to create and maintain effective transitions between mental health services and gambling treatment or care.

These strategic partnerships should seek to embed treatment evaluation, oversight and inspection in ways similar to that which applies in other areas of health and social care. There are important lessons from other sectors, especially on how to involve experts by experience in the design and delivery of services.

The UK government’s referral to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to consider treatment guidelines for England and Wales will be critical to inform future treatment and support, and partnership working will be key to embedding the guidelines as they progress.

Over time, clinical guidelines can work in tandem with effective standards to enable inspection of treatment services. An appropriate route for such inspection would need to be identified, along the lines of that provided by Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England, Healthcare Improvement Scotland and Healthcare Inspectorate Wales for other treatment services.

Primary care practitioners may be largely unaware of the impact of gambling harms on mental health, so education and training for the healthcare workforce will play a key role in raising awareness of gambling harms when assessing those presenting with stress or other mental health or addiction related disorders.

Health Education England, NHS Education for Scotland and Health Education and Improvement Wales have a role to play in highlighting workforce needs for this population.

Professional bodies are well placed to shape the public health response by raising awareness of gambling harms and educating the workforce.

These include the following:

  • Faculty of Public Health
  • Royal Society for Public Health
  • Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists
  • Royal College of Nursing.
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