London, 30 November 2021: GambleAware has today published the annual statistics for the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS) for 2020/21. Jointly commissioned by NHS England and GambleAware, the NGTS is a network of organisations including GamCare and its partner network, Gordon Moody, and NHS treatment centres, working together to provide confidential treatment and support for anyone experiencing gambling harms.
The new report reveals that most (92%) people who completed their scheduled treatment in 2020/21 showed improvement on their Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) score, a widely used measure of problem gambling. 8,490 people received structured treatment during the 2020/21 period, and of those who started treatment as ‘problem gamblers ’, seven in ten (70%) were no longer defined as such on the PGSI scale at end of scheduled treatment .
The annual report shows that the majority (93%) of referrals were self-made, with less than one per cent (0.7%) being made by GPs. Half (50%) of clients received their first appointment within three days of contacting the service, and three quarters (75%) within eight days. Treatment was shown to last on average nine weeks.
The report reveals the demonstrable impact of COVID-19 on services, with 518 fewer people accessing treatment in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20 . The report also shows that the proportion of clients seeking treatment through the NGTS, who participate in online gambling increased, climbing from 57% in 2015/16 to 79% in 2020/21. This was seemingly the leading cause of gambling harm for those in treatment.
Zoë Osmond, CEO of GambleAware, said: “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. 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.
“To assist here, we are continuing to deliver impactful campaigns to help elevate awareness of the service across the country. We have recently appointed FutureGov to develop a new Outcomes Framework and Service Delivery model to help deliver improved access to, and awareness of the NGTS. 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.”