Local MPs Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt have welcomed the news that the Government is set to open a new clinic to tackle gambling-related harms in Milton Keynes later this summer.
The new facility will be based in Westcroft and is one of seven opening over the summer as the NHS expands support available for people experiencing gambling-related harms.
The clinics will treat people with serious addiction issues through cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, support groups and aftercare.
Teams including psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses and peer-support workers will also offer support to patients’ family members, partners and carers.
Iain Stewart, the MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “I am pleased that the NHS continues to invest in Milton Keynes and expand the range of services available to residents, particularly to address the mental health impact that addictions can have on the patient and their family.”
Ben Everitt, the MP for Milton Keynes North, commented: "A gambling addiction can have a terrible impact on the lives of those with the addiction and the people close to them so I'm delighted the Government is investing in a new treatment clinic right here in Milton Keynes.
"Eight gambling harms clinics are already open across the country and are making a difference to people's lives and I welcome the Government's plans to to tackle gambling related harms in the recently published White Paper."
Health Minister Neil O’Brien said: “The stark rise in the number of people seeking NHS treatment for gambling-related harms shows the devastating impact it can have on people’s lives and health. These new clinics will bring vital support to more parts of the country, so thousands more people can get the help they need.
"We have taken firm action to tackle gambling-related harms through our White Paper, which includes our commitment to introduce a statutory levy so gambling companies pay their fair share towards the costs of treatment services.”
Amanda Pritchard. NHS England Chief Executive, added: “In 1948 when the NHS was founded, you had to go to a bookies to place a bet, but now people can gamble on their phone at the touch of a button and everyone, young and old, is bombarded with adverts encouraging them to take part.
“Record numbers of people are coming to the NHS for help to treat their gambling addiction, a cruel disease which has the power to destroy people’s lives, with referrals up by more than a third compared to last year.
“As it has done since 1948, the NHS is responding at speed and rolling out seven new gambling harms clinics across England, so that even more people can be supported by the NHS in their time of need.”
The other new clinics are in Liverpool, Thurrock, Bristol, Derby, Blackpool, and Sheffield. The new locations were chosen with the aim of ensuring representation across every region of England and accounting for the presence of existing NHS expertise and capacity,
There are already eight gambling harms clinics open in London, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Southampton, Stoke-on-Trent, and Telford, as well as an additional national clinic, which treats both gambling and gaming addiction in children and young people, in London.
The NHS plans to treat up to 3,000 patients a year across the 15 clinics, fulfilling itsLong Term Plan commitment six months ahead of schedule.
Around 138,000 people could be problem gambling according to Gambling Commission figures, with around a further 1.3 million people engaging in either moderate or low-risk gambling. Around 1,400 patients were referred for help last year.
One patient who received help from the Northern Gambling Harms Service, said: “Gambling addiction took over my life to the extent I was suicidal and relationships with my family and friends had broken down. Engaging with NHS services has helped me get control of my life back and I’m rebuilding trust with my family and friends, once again having happy and healthy relationships with people close to me.”