GamCare & King’s College London to develop single question screening tool

A GamCare and King’s College London-led research team have gained National Institute for Health Research funding to develop a ‘trigger’ question to identify gambling related harms as part of people’s contact with local authority adult social care services.

The ‘Research for Social Care’ funding intends to validate a new single question screening tool which can be used with enquirers and service users, and test its effectiveness in three local authorities. 

It is said that this will enable people affected by gambling harm to be put in touch with support, and to build up a picture of the numbers affected and potential costs to local authorities. 

The gambling support charity “there is currently a lack of data about gambling harm, despite substantial publicity about industry’s expansion during COVID-19 pandemic, and policy interest in the public health impacts of gambling”.

Local authorities are being asked by the government to identify and support people experiencing gambling harms such as debt, mental health problems and possible homelessness. 

Caroline Norrie, research fellow at KCL and project lead, explained: “This is only the second gambling related study to have been funded by the NIHR, so we are incredibly excited and also pleased to see gambling harm being recognised as an area where adult social care can play an important part in supporting people get the help they need.”

The research team includes leading researchers from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King’s College London, experts from GamCare, the University of York, King’s College London’s Health Economics Department and Institute of Psychiatry, Dr Emily Finch, the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, BetKnowmore gambling support charity, and international gambling expert Dr Heather Wardle.

Anna Hemmings, CEO at GamCare, added: “GamCare is delighted to work with the team on this programme. Developing a single question screening tool or ‘trigger question’ which can be implemented in a variety of settings is an essential part of better identifying gambling harms, so we can work together to address them as swiftly as possible. 

“Giving professionals in adult social care settings the tools and confidence to open up conversations around gambling, risk and harm is a vital step to ensuring individuals, families and communities are able to access the right interventions at the right time to prevent harms from escalating.”