NHS Opening UK’s First Gaming Addiction Clinic; Officials Urge Tech Giants to Take Responsibility


Back in June 2018, we learned the NHS would open the first center for gaming addicts in the United Kingdom. The time has finally come, as the clinic and its services will go live this month as part of the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions, located alongside the National Problem Gambling Clinic. It will focus on youngsters of age 13-25.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer at NHS England, said:

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Health needs are constantly changing which is why the NHS must never stand still – this new service is a response to an emerging problem, part of the increasing pressures that children and young people are exposed to these days.

However, the NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces – gambling and internet firms have a responsibility to their users as well as their shareholders and should do their utmost to prevent rather than cash in on obsessive or harmful behaviour.

Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director at NHS England, added:

Compulsive gaming and social media and internet addiction is a problem that is not going to go away when they play such a key part in modern life.

The NHS is rising to the challenge – as it always does – with these new, innovative services, but we can’t be expected to pick up the pieces, which is why tech giants need to recognise the impact that products which encourage repeated and persistent use have on young people and start taking their responsibilities seriously too.

The Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders, devised as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, will be directed by Dr. Henrietta Bowden-Jones (OBE), who shared the following statement:

The centre for gaming and internet addictions is the first and only specialist service on the NHS. I am delighted to be leading it and grateful to the NHS for recognising the problem, which will ultimately see us helping thousands of children and young people.

Gaming Addiction was officially recognized as a mental disorder by the World Health Organization earlier this year, even if plenty of psychiatrists and the like are still challenging that decision.