SBC News OHID informs on increase need for specialised treatment of gambling harms

OHID informs on increase need for specialised treatment of gambling harms

New Public Health figures for England estimate that 1.6 million adults would benefit from specialist-led treatment for gambling harms.

The estimated figure forms part of a prevalence update on “gambling treatment need and support” undertaken by the Office for Health Improvement & Disparities (OHID), reporting to the Department of Health and Social Care.

Providing a breakdown of treatment needs, the update cites that a majority of 970,000 adults (60%) may require ‘level 2 intensity’ treatment, involving two to three sessions of motivational interviewing by specialist practitioners.

Deeper care is required for 243,000 adults who require ‘level 4 intensity’ treatment, involving between eight and 14 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) led by psychologists.

Intensive treatment is recommended for 40,000 adults, overseen by a 12-week residential programme with one-to-one therapy and group sessions.

A breakdown of regional estimates sees London index the highest prevalence for those seeking treatment at a rate of ‘3,835 per 100,000’, which is projected to account for 266,707 adults in need of support of gambling harms.

London is followed by the North West (3,782 per 100,000) and West Midlands (3,751), as the update notes that rates in regional differences are attributed to demographic variations across England.

The estimated figure of 1.6 million adults requiring treatment support in England is detailed as the median of a ‘95% confidence interval’ taken between 1,301,206 (lower) to 1,939,991 (upper) adults deemed in need of treatment support.

The update provides further estimates on “children living in households with adults who gamble who might need support”, in which “the overall estimate is that there are 912,805 children living in these kinds of households in England”. This estimate is supported by a 95% confidence level on the intervals of 754,864 to 1,116,074 children.

Audiences were informed of the unique methodology used by researchers from the University of Sheffield and the University of Glasgow, who produced the estimates for the OHID.

As such, the update detailed that “producing these estimates required defining suitable treatment or support type categories, as well as applying small area estimation techniques to nationally representative data. The estimates are only for the support needs of people who gamble and do not consider the support needed by other people affected by their gambling”.

Researchers conducted a ‘Delphi Consensus Survey‘ on the Open Science Framework (OSF) research platform, applying data from 22 professional organisations providing gambling treatment and support services.

Feedback identified six types of treatment/support services, detailed as: Brief advice, Extended brief interventions, Psychosocial interventions, Psychologist-led CBT, Intensive residential treatment, and Peer support.

Research on prevalence rate estimates was based on NHS England’s Health Survey for England, pooling data from 2015, 2016, and 2018 and applying “multinomial logistic regression”.

Audiences interpreting the data are advised that the choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the severity of gambling issues and other personal circumstances. When considering regional prevalence rates, factors to include are age, sex, deprivation index quintile, and regional unemployment rate.

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