The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is to stop accepting cash from the gambling industry for the treatment of people suffering from addiction, amidst fears that patients feel ‘uncomfortable’ about it.
Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director of NHS England, has written to the industry supported charity GambleAware to say the NHS will be fully funding its own gambling services from April 1st.
GambleAware collected £16m between April and December last year in voluntary donations from the industry to fund a range of treatment services. This included awarding £1.2m to NHS gambling clinics in 2020/21. Overall voluntary pledges to GambleAware last year included £4m from Bet365, £4m from Entain and £1m from William Hill. However, Ms Murdoch says this funding decision has been influenced by patients who were ‘uncomfortable’ with the concept of using services paid for by the gambling industry.
In her new letter to GambleAware, she also said that “we hope that you will continue to join us in calling for the gambling industry to be more heavily regulated and taxed to generate public funding to address gambling harms.”