New clinic to treat gambling addicts to be opened in Milton Keynes by the government

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It will be sited just three miles away from the city’s large casino

The government is to open a new clinic specially for gambling addicts in Milton Keynes.

The NHS centre will treat people with serious addictions through cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, support groups and aftercare.

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It will be sited at Westcroft, three miles away from the city centre’s Casino MK, which is run by Aspers.

Gambling addiction is becoming more and more of a problem in MK and elsewhereGambling addiction is becoming more and more of a problem in MK and elsewhere
Gambling addiction is becoming more and more of a problem in MK and elsewhere

Teams including psychologists, therapists, psychiatrists, mental health nurses and peer-support workers will be on hand to offer support to patients’ family members, partners and carers.

Due to open over the summer, it is one of seven such specialist gambling clinics to be provided in the UK as the NHS expands support available for people experiencing gambling-related harms.

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.

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"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.”

Local MPs Iain Stewart and Ben Everitt have welcomed the news.

Iain, 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 , the MP for Milton Keynes North, said: "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.

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"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."

Amanda Pritchard. NHS England Chief Executive, said: “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.”

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.

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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.”