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NHS to stop accepting cash from gambling industry for addiction treatment

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he NHS is to stop taking cash from the gambling industry for the treatment of people suffering addiction.

NHS England’s national mental health director, Claire Murdoch, has written to the grant-making charity GambleAware to say the NHS will be fully funding its own gambling services from April 1.

It comes as the NHS faces record demand for support and is launching two new gambling clinics in Southampton and Stoke-On-Trent. This will take the number of specialist clinics across England to seven.

Ms Murdoch said the funding decision had been “heavily influenced” by patients who were uncomfortable about using services paid for by industry – a view that has been echoed by medics.

GambleAware accounts show it collected £16 million between April and December last year in voluntary donations from the gambling industry to fund a range of treatment services.

These include NHS gambling clinics, which received £1.2 million in 2020/21.

The overall voluntary pledges to GambleAware last year included £1 million from William Hill, just over £4 million from Bet365 and £4 million from Entain.

In April 2021, Ms Murdoch told the Guardian gambling firms had profited during the pandemic but were leaving the NHS to “pick up the pieces” of addiction and should be hit with a compulsory levy to fund treatment.

In her new letter to GambleAware, she said while industry funding “has allowed us to roll out treatment services faster than would have otherwise been possible”, there is a desire to “move the funding into general NHS funding, as is londonbusinessblog for other similar services”.

She added: “Our decision has been heavily influenced by patients who have previously expressed concern about using services paid for directly by industry.

“Additionally, our clinicians feel there are conflicts of interest in their clinics being part-funded by resources from the gambling industry.

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