Patients in the UK visiting their doctors should be asked about gambling in the same way they are questioned about smoking and alcohol consumption, according to new guidance.
(Bloomberg) — Patients in the UK visiting their doctors should be asked about gambling in the same way they are questioned about smoking and alcohol consumption, according to new guidance.
The National Institute for Care Excellence said people who arrive at appointments with depression, anxiety or thoughts of self-harm in relation to addiction may be at increased risk of harm from gambling. Health professionals should discuss blocking software or tools to limit online gambling with patients, NICE said.
“Harmful gambling causes immense misery to all those who experience it,” said Professor Jonathan Benger, the chief medical officer at NICE and interim director of the center for guidelines. “We want those needing help or who are at risk to be identified sooner and receive appropriate help.”
NICE, which which sets treatment guidelines for NHS patients, has launched a consultation on the new recommendations which will close on Nov. 15.
About 300,000 adults in England have a gambling problem, a review by Public Health England found. The gaming industry in Britain pulls in around £14 billion ($17 billion) a year more than it pays out in winnings, according to the Gambling Commission.
In response, the UK government has proposed new measures including a levy on gambling companies, caps on online slot machines and enhanced checks on financial risk.
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