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18.09.19

NHS gambling clinic opens In Leeds

National charity GambleAware have opened The NHS Northern Gambling Clinic in Leeds today, the first in the country outside of London.

Throughout Great Britain, there are an estimated 430,000 people struggling with a gambling problem and another two million at risk of developing a problem in the future. These figures are not reflected in the number of people who are currently receiving help - less than two per cent.

A study conducted by Leeds Beckett University found that Leeds has double the rate of the national average when it comes to gambling issues. A life is lost per day in the UK related to gambling and the clinic, which received £34bn in government backing, hopes to tackle this crisis.

The clinic is only the second of its kind in the country and will serve as a support for people all across the North who have become addicted to gambling or are at risk of becoming addicted to gambling, with more severe of complex cases receiving more prompt treatment.

The service will be provided by Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, a leading mental health and learning disabilities trust, and GamCare, the leading provider of information, advice, support and free counselling for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling.

Matt Gaskell, consultant psychologist for addiction services at Leeds and York trust, is set to be clinical lead for the new clinic. He was keen to aim focus towards younger people struggling with gambling addictions too.

Mr Gaskell said: “In recent years we’ve seen a rise in problem gambling amongst younger people. Research shows that nearly 400,000 eleven to 16-year-old children are gambling in England and Wales every week, including 25,000 children defined as problem gamblers.

“I have been campaigning for many years to set up an NHS service to help those affected by serious gambling disorder.”

Leeds County Council deputy leader and executive member for communities, Debra Coupar, added: “Leeds prides itself on being a compassionate city. We want to support vulnerable people and improve the health of the poorest the fastest.

“These innovative support services are an important step forward in providing the education, training and support which is so desperately needed.”

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