GambleAware has cited an improvement in gambling addiction treatment outcomes of the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS), as 92% of patients that completed treatment during 2020/2021 improved their Problem Gambling Severity (PGS) index score.
The above statistic was presented as the headline result of GambleAware’s 2020/2021 annual statistics for the NGTS – the UK’s network for problem gambling support jointly commissioned by NHS England and GambleAware.
During 2020/2021, the NGTS provided structured treatment to 8,490 patients. Of those who started treatment as problem gamblers, seven in ten (70%) were no longer classified as such on the PGSI index at the end of their treatment cycle.
Further positive results saw the NGTS register an increase in patients completing full treatment to 74% compared to 59% reported in 2016, whilst the proportion of patient dropouts decreased from 35% to 20%.
A breakdown of patients’ treatment revealed that 93% of referrals were self-made – with less than 1% being attributed to GP referrals. Meanwhile half of the patients received their first treatment appointment within three days of contacting NGTS services.
Overall, three quarters (75%) of patients received treatment within eight days of their first contact, as treatment programmes were shown to last on average nine weeks.
NGTS treatment improvements were recorded despite its support network being demonstrably impacted by COVID-19, as 518 fewer people accessed treatment compared to 2019/2020 results.
Of significance, GambleAware highlighted the proportion of online gambling patients seeking treatment through NGTS, climbing from 57% in 2015/16 to 79% in 2020/2021.
As problem gambling’s lead RET charity, GambleAware has launched a five-year organisational strategy to help improve access to and awareness of the NGTS, with the aim of ensuring more people receive effective treatment.
“It is encouraging to see that during an unprecedented year, when many of the services had to move online, the National Gambling Treatment Service has been able to continue to deliver good results for those receiving treatment,” said GambleAware CEO Zoe Osmond
“The worryingly low uptake of services however underlines the very real need to continue to raise awareness of and improve pathways to the Service, so that more people know that help is available.
“We also encourage healthcare professionals and other community support figures to refer people in need to the Service, yet we recognise that the NGTS cannot tackle this problem alone and we, therefore, call on other statutory sectors to track results of gambling treatments to help to deliver a clearer picture of treatment in Great Britain.”