GambleAware has published its inaugural report tracking how consumers utilise the ‘National Gambling Treatment Service’ (NGTS) facilities across Scotland and Wales.

The NGTS data in the regions has been independently collected by healthcare research consultancy ViewitUK – as GambleAware looks to provide stakeholders with a deeper regional view of NGTS developments. 

In Scotland, the NGTS treated a total of 295 individuals – 77 per cent of whom were male –  between 2019 and 2020, as 90 per cent of participants demonstrated an improved ‘Problem Gambling Severity Index’ (PGSI) score – the scale used to measure the severity of an individual’s gambling disorder.

Effective NGTS treatment saw over half (54 per cent) of Scottish participants classified as ‘problem gamblers’ no longer registered in the category by the end of treatment.

Furthermore, 66 per cent of Scottish participants recorded an improved ‘CORE-10’ score – the mental health assessment used to measure a patient’s psychological distress.

Tracking Scotland’s treatment support data between 2015/2016 and 2019/2020, the NGTS saw the proportion of patients completing scheduled treatment increase from 51 per cent to 58 per cent, whilst ‘drop-outs’ decreased from 43 per cent to 29 per cent.

GambleAware also revealed that Scottish NGTS patients were spending an average of £1,558 on gambling in the months prior to commencing treatment – with 63 per cent stating that they were in debt due to their gambling disorders.

“The results from this report illustrate how treatment can make a real difference to people’s lives, which is why we are working to ensure that it is available to the greatest number possible,” commented Lisa-Marie Patton, Team Leader at GamCare Scotland. “Better links with health and social care services will help us to connect more people with the treatment that they need for gambling harms.”

In Wales, the NGTS treated a total of 271 individuals – 68 per cent male – with 94 per cent of patients who received treatment showing an improved PGSI score.

It also reported that 57 per cent of Welsh patients classified as ‘problem gamblers’ were no longer in the high-risk category following treatment, while more than three quarters (87 per cent) of patients record an improved CORE-10 score.

Similarly to Scotland, it outlined that between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the proportion of patients completing scheduled treatment increased from 64 per cent to 80 per cent, whilst the proportion of drop-outs fell from 28 per cent to 15 per cent.

GambleAware noted that Wales carried the highest ‘professional patient referral rates for Great Britain’, with Welsh GP referral rates maintained at 4 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent and across other devolved administrations.

Welsh NGTS patients were reported to be spending an average of £1,330 in the month prior to beginning treatment, with 65% stating that they had entered personal debt.

69% of patients were in employment, however, one-in-ten (10%) reported that they had previously experienced a job loss through gambling, whilst over three in 10 (31%) had experienced personal relationship loss.

Diana Yorath, Wales Development Officer, ARA Cymru added: “ARA is dedicated to increasing uptake in the National Gambling Treatment Service offerings across Wales. 

“We are actively collaborating with NHS partners to improve referral routes to ensure individuals have access to the best treatment for them.

“Alongside this, we are working to build awareness both of gambling harms and of the NGTS and Helpline through engaging with grassroots community initiatives.”