public health in England announced this Sunday the opening of new clinics pathological gambling after registering an increase in cases that he attributes to greater access through mobile applications and the “bombardment” of advertisements from the houses of bets. The number of people referred for treatment for such addiction has almost doubled in the last two years.
The director of the National Health Service (NHS, in English) of the England region -the rest of the British territories have their own powers-, Amanda Pritchardhas indicated that this summer seven clinics will be set up in various locations, which will be added to another eight that already exist and another that treats minors.
The latest figures released today reveal that in the twelve months up to last March there were 1.389 personas referred for treatment for their gambling addiction, up from 1,013 in 2021-22 and 775 in 2020-21.
The most recent data from the Public Gambling Commission estimates that 0.3% of the population over 16 in England, some 138,000 people, have a problematic relationship with gambling, while 2.9%, or 1.3 million, is dedicated to the game of moderate or low risk.
As the NHS turns 75 on July 5, the announced measure shows that it is “adapting to new health care needs,” Pritchard said. “In 1948, when the NHS was founded, you had to go to a betting shop to make a football poolsbut now people can bet on their phone at the touch of a button and everyone, young and old, is bombarded with ads encouraging us to participate,” he said in a statement.
“There are record numbers of people turning to the NHS for help to treat their gambling addiction, a cruel disease that has the power to destroy lives, with an increase in referrals (of patients) of more than a third” compared to the previous period, he adds.
The clinics will offer services to treat addiction through cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy and support groups, with teams of psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists and specialized nurses, among others.