The UK government has announced plans to invest in the expansion of NHS specialist clinics in order to help more people with serious gambling problems.

Prime Minister Theresa May launched the new ten-year plan for the National Health Service on Monday, which includes plans to tackle major killer conditions and save up to half a million lives.

As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the government noted that over 400,000 people in England were problem gamblers and two million people were at risk, but that current treatment only reached a small number through one national clinic.

“We will therefore expand geographical coverage of NHS services for people with serious gambling problems, and work with partners to tackle the problem at source,” said the government.

Currently there is only one NHS clinic for problem gambling, provided by Central & North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust, with a second clinic due to open in Leeds later this year.

“For the past 10 years GambleAware has funded the National Problem Gambling Clinic at CNWL NHS Foundation Trust and, as a charity, we are immensely proud of how the clinic has demonstrated the contribution the NHS can make to the treatment of gambling addiction,” said Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, the leading provider of research, education and treatment for problem gambling and gambling related harm in Great Britain.

“Too often, those with gambling addiction suffer in silence, which is why we will continue to work closely with the NHS to help make sure there are good links between the services we commission and those commissioned by the NHS.”

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