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In common with other compulsive and addictive behaviours, problem gambling is addressed as part of wider health issues. Anyone who believes that gambling is affecting their health, or that of a loved one, should consult their general practitioner in the first instance. Out-of-hours advice and support can be obtained from NHS24 or from Breathing Space. The NHSinform website also contains advice and signposting information.
When a person with addictive or compulsive behaviou rs is referred to a service for treatment, it may not be a specialist gambling addiction programme. The clinical team will work with that person, to identify the issues or problems that are important to support their recovery, and to provide evidenced-based treatment.
My understanding is that no Scottish health board has introduced a pre-planned treatment programme for gambling, and that there is in Scotland no specialist clinic to treat people with that problem. Does the minister think that there is any need for such a facility?
We will continue to consider evidence on what works best to address the issue of gambling harms in Scotland. That includes work by the Scottish Public Health Network to develop and implement a whole population approach to the prevention and reduction of gambling harms. That is currently being progressed with partners including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow City Council, and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland. People who have lived experience of gambling harms will be closely involved in co-producing a co-ordinated framework to underpin that work. The learning from the project will help to inform whole system approaches to addressing gambling harms in Scotland.