GambleAware has published its first report that tracks residents’ use and access to the ‘National Gambling Treatment Service’ (NGTS) facilities across Scotland and Wales.
The data for Scotland and Wales has been independently collected 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, as 90% of participants demonstrated 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 over half (54%) of Scottish participants classified as ‘problem gamblers’ no longer registered in the category by the end of treatment.
Furthermore, 66% of Scottish participants 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 proportion of patients completing scheduled treatment increase from 51% to 58%, whilst ‘drop-outs’ decreased from 43% to 29%.
GambleAware also revealed that Scottish NGTS patients were spending an average of £1,558 on gambling in the months prior to commencing treatment – with 63% stating that they were in debt due to their gambling disorders.
“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,” commented Lisa-Marie Patton, Team Leader at GamCare Scotland. “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 reported that 57% of Welsh patients classified as ‘problem gamblers’ were no longer in the high-risk category following treatment, while more than three quarters (87%) of patients record an improved CORE-10 score.
Mirroring Scotland, the report detailed that between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the proportion of patients completing scheduled treatment increased 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 were reported to be spending an average of £1,330 in the month prior to beginning treatment, with 65% stating that they had entered personal debt.
69% of patients were in employment, however, one-in-10 (10%) reported that they had previously experienced a job loss through gambling, whilst over three in 10 (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.”