GambleAware highlights success of National Gambling Treatment service in 2020/21 annual update

The UK gambling charity GambleAware has published its annual update for 2020/21, revealing an improvement in gambling addiction treatment outcomes of the National Gambling Treatment Service (NGTS).

According to the charity, 92% of patients that completed treatment during the 2020/21 year, improved their Problem Gambling Severity (PGS) index score.

During 2020/21, the NGTS provided structured treatment to 8,490 patients and of those who started treatment as problem gamblers, seven in ten, or 70%, were no longer classified as such on the PGS index score at the end of treatment.

Positive results also came with the NGTS registering an increase in patients completing full treatment to 74% compared to 59% from 2016. At the same time, the proportion of patients that dropout from treatment fell from 35% to 20%.

Breaking down patients’ treatment reveals that 93% of referrals were self made and less than 1% of referrals were attributed to GP referrals. Additionally, half of the patients received their first treatment appointment within three days of reaching out to the NGTS.

Overall, 75% of patients received treatment within eight days of their first contact, as treatment programmes were shown to last on average nine weeks.

Fewer people signing up to NGTS

The GambleAware report also revealed the impact of COVID-19, in that 518 fewer people received treatment in 2020/21 than the previous year. 

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.

The charity explained that it is encouraged by the high success rate of treatment for the year despite the disruption caused by the pandemic. However, GambleAware is concerned by the low percentage of people receiving treatment for gambling harms through the Service.

Last month, the charity said that awareness of the NGTS is continuing to grow and praised the success of its promotional campaigns across newspapers, magazines, out-of-home advertising, online, and radio.

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.”