Today GambleAware hosted its 8th Annual Conference on the topic of treatment of gambling harms. The event focused on three key areas for discussion: developing care pathways, innovations in treatment and assuring delivery.
During the three-hour, virtual conference, attendees heard from the Shadow Minister for Public Health, Alex Norris MP, as well as several treatment providers and experts from GamCare, the Primary Care Gambling Service and the National Problem Gambling Clinic. Other speakers during the session included David Hollingsworth from the Gordon Moody Association and Steven Nyandu from Betknowmore, both of which brought an important perspective to the discussion having experienced gambling harms first-hand.
A key theme that arose from speakers across the various sessions was the need and importance for collaboration and partnership between treatment providers, including at a grassroots level. Speakers emphasised how this approach helps to ensure people are able to access the treatment they need and is made accessible to those harder to reach individuals and communities.
Reflecting on the effect and impact of Covid-19 and gambling treatment, speakers also shared their insights on how treatment has developed over the past year, including the increase in online web chats and also computerised CBT therapy.
GambleAware Chair, Kate Lampard CBE, gave a welcome speech to attendees in which she reiterated the need for a coherent and co-ordinated ‘whole systems approach’ for the effective prevention of gambling harms. She emphasised that by continuing to adopt this system, it helps ensure appropriate prevention messages, referral routes and care pathways to enable individuals to receive the right intervention and treatment or support at the right time.
During her opening remarks, Kate Lampard CBE also emphasised the need to work and engage with those with lived experience of gambling harms, making the point that it is important to engage with community institutions, including faith groups, to ensure no one with lived experience of gambling harms feels excluded or unable to access the services that are on offer.
At the conference, it was announced that GambleAware will be publishing its new Commissioning Strategy in April. The strategy will set out how the charity intends to use the £100 million pledged by the gambling industry to develop treatment services, while supporting NHS England’s plans for new specialist clinics across the country.