Responsible gambling organisation GambleAware has published its first report tracking residents’ use and access to its National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) facilities across Scotland and Wales.
The data for Scotland and Wales has been independently gathered by healthcare research consultancy ViewitUK, as GambleAware aims to provide stakeholders with a regional view of NGTS developments.
In Scotland, the NGTS treated a total of 295 individuals, 77% of whom were male, between 2019 and 2020. 90% of its participants showed an improved Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) score, the scale used to measure the severity of an individual’s gambling disorder.
Effective NGTS treatment saw 54% of Scottish participants classified as ‘problem gamblers’ no longer listed in the category by the end of treatment. 66% of the country’s participants also recorded an improved ‘CORE-10’ score, the mental health assessment used to measure a patient’s psychological distress.
Tracking Scotland’s treatment support data between 2015/2016 and 2019/2020, the NGTS saw the number of patients completing scheduled treatment increase from 51% to 58%, whilst ‘dropouts’ reduced from 43% to 29%.
The organisation also reported that Scottish NGTS patients were spending an average of £1,558 on gambling in the months before starting treatment, with 63% stating that they were in debt due to their gambling disorders.
Lisa-Marie Patton, Team Leader at GamCare Scotland, said: “The results from this report illustrate how treatment can make a real difference to people’s lives, which is why we are working to ensure that it is available to the greatest number possible.
“Better links with health and social care services will help us to connect more people with the treatment that they need for gambling harms.”
In Wales, the NGTS treated a total of 271 individuals, 68% male, with 94% of patients who received treatment showing an improved PGSI score.
NGTS stated that 57% of Welsh patients classified as ‘problem gamblers’ were no longer in the high-risk category following treatment, while 87% of patients record a better CORE-10 score.
Echoing Scotland, the report specified that between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the proportion of patients completing scheduled treatment went up from 64% to 80%, whilst the proportion of drop-outs fell from 28% to 15%.
GambleAware noted that Wales carried the highest ‘professional patient referral rates for Great Britain’, with Welsh GP referral rates maintained at 4% compared to 1.5% and across other devolved administrations.
Welsh NGTS patients spent an average of £1,330 in the month before beginning treatment, with 65% stating that they had entered personal debt.
69% of patients were in employment, but 10% reported that they had previously experienced a job loss through gambling, whilst over 31% had experienced personal relationship loss.
Diana Yorath, Wales Development Officer, added: “ARA is dedicated to increasing uptake in the National Gambling Treatment Service offerings across Wales. We are actively collaborating with NHS partners to improve referral routes to ensure individuals have access to the best treatment for them.
“Alongside this, we are working to build awareness both of gambling harms and of the NGTS and Helpline through engaging with grassroots community initiatives.”
Earlier this month, GambleAware launched ‘There, but not There’, a nationwide marketing campaign, targeting women aged 18-54, that seeks to raise awareness of its problem gambling treatment and support services.