GambleAware has released its first study that monitors the use and access of people across Scotland and Wales to the ‘National Gambling Treatment Service’ (NGTS) facilities.
Healthcare research firm ViewitUK has independently gathered the data for Scotland and Wales, as GambleAware aims to provide stakeholders with a geographic view of NGTS developments.
Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)
In Scotland, between 2019 and 2020, the NGTS treated a total of 295 individuals-77 percent of whom were male-as 90 percent of participants exhibited an enhanced ‘Problem Gambling Severity Index’ (PGSI) score-the scale used to assess the severity of the gambling condition of a person.
Over half (54 percent) of Scottish participants identified as ‘problem gamblers’ were no longer registered in the group by the end of therapy for successful NGTS treatment.
In addition, 66 percent of Scottish respondents registered an increased ‘CORE-10’ score, the mental health assessment used to measure the psychological distress of a patient.
The NGTS saw the proportion of patients completing planned care rise from 51 percent to 58 percent, while drop-outs decreased from 43 percent to 29 percent, monitoring Scotland’s therapy support data between 2015/2016 and 2019/2020.
Importance of treatment
GambleAware also reported that in the months prior to beginning care, Scottish NGTS patients spent an average of £ 1,558 on gambling, with 63 percent reporting 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.”
The NGTS treated a total of 271 individuals in Wales, 68 percent male, with an enhanced PGSI score showing 94 percent of patients who received care.
NGTS recorded that 57 percent of Welsh patients identified as ‘problem gamblers’ were no longer in the post-treatment high-risk group, while more than three-quarters (87 percent) of patients had an enhanced CORE-10 score.
The study, Mirroring Scotland, detailed that the proportion of patients completing scheduled care increased from 64 percent to 80 percent between 2015/16 and 2019/20, while the proportion of drop-outs dropped from 28 percent to 15 percent .
Specialist patient referral rates
GambleAware noted that Wales had the highest ‘Great Britain’ specialist patient referral rates, with Welsh GP referral rates standing at 4 percent compared to 1.5 percent and across other devolved administrations.
Patients with Welsh NGTS were estimated to spend an average of £ 1,330 in the month before starting care, with 65 percent suggesting that they had entered personal debt.
However, one-in-10 (10 percent) indicated that they had previously suffered a work loss by gambling, while over three in 10 (31 percent) experienced personal relationship loss. 69 percent of patients were working.
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.”