Can GPs do more?

The UK is in the midst of a profound economic decline and the failing economy could be linked to increases in problem gambling as individuals bank on big wins to deal with reducing finances. In primary care settings in the UK, most problem gamblers go unrecognised and their health needs arising from their problem go unaddressed. This may be for various reasons, such as a reluctance to disclose the role of gambling in contributing to negative health impacts. Healthcare professionals’ low awareness of problem gambling is linked to their limited knowledge regarding how to identify and assist patients experiencing gambling- related harm. It is likely that even where primary health practitioners do identify the existence of gambling-related harm, they regard this as a personal or ‘social’ problem, rather than a health issue, meaning that the needs of relevant individuals are largely unaddressed. In this editorial we argue the case for why and how GPs should do more to address problem gambling.

British Journal of General Practice, April 2011

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