Approximately 90 per cent of gamblers that have accessed National Gambling Treatment Service facilities across Scotland have demonstrated an improvement in their Problem Gambling Severity Index score.
According to a report published by GambleAware, 295 individuals accessed the facilities – 77 per cent of whom identified as male.
More than half (54 per cent) of those who had accessed treatment were no longer considered to be ‘problem gamblers’, with the remainder likely to need more than one round of treatment for them to no longer be classified as a ‘problem gambler’.
Another assessment measure used by the services, alongside the PGSI score, is the CORE-104 scale, which is used to monitor psychological distress.
The researchers found for those clients that ended their treatment, their CORE-10 score reduced by an average of eight points, with 74 per cent classed as below the threshold of ‘moderate’ distress. For those clients who completed treatment, 66 per cent improved their CORE-10 score.
“The publication of this report demonstrates our commitment to develop treatment for those experiencing gambling harms in Scotland,” noted Dr Jane Rigbye, GambleAware interim director of commissioning.
“It has highlighted a need to improve awareness and take-up of treatment services and to follow up protocols with gamblers who drop out of treatment, to understand their motivations and ensure provision of the services they require.
“We are dedicated to pursuing greater collaboration with Health and Social Care Partnership Boards, NHS Scotland and voluntary sector agencies to address gambling harms.
“As a commissioning body, GambleAware is working hard to ensure that there is better awareness of gambling harms, and of the help that is available, so that people across Scotland can access the help and treatment that they need to prevent gambling harms.”
The report also found that 92 per cent of referrals for treatment were self-made, with 50 per cent of individuals being seen for their first appointment within six days of making contact. Approximately 75 per cent had access to an appointment within nine days of a self-referral.
Moreover, 58 per cent of individuals completed their scheduled treatment, whilst 29 per cent dropped out before a scheduled end point.
GambleAware 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.
Lisa-Marie Patton, team leader at GamCare Scotland, said: “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.
“Better links with health and social care services will help us to connect more people with the treatment that they need for gambling harms.”