A leading gambling charity has issued a report that calls for more involvement from members of the public affected by gambling addiction in debates on the issue.
According to the report, which was commissioned from King’s College London by charity GambleAware, a review of 130 studies on the issue of gambling harm found no substantial evidence of PPIEP (patient and public involvement, engagement and participation).
The report does say that rather than no PPIEP, it is likely that the sector has sought such engagement, but has failed to record and report it formally. As a result, the report recommends that there should be a national level network, infrastructure or forum to facilitate the involvement of ‘experts by experience’. It also recommended that this effort should be independent, a key factor that came out of workshops run by King’s College in gathering evidence for their report:
“Workshop participants were keen to see an adequately funded, independent initiative, separate to any run by the NHS or other bodies, as in their view, this could lead to a lack of ownership and potentially be bureaucratic.”
The report highlighted a number of areas of concern in which people with lived experience wanted to make more of a contribution. These include online safeguards, self-exclusion, regulation and ensuring the independence of funding for research into gambling addiction. It also said that the gambling industry should look at running a priority-setting exercise to involve people with lived experience, which could help draw up priorities for future research.
To move ahead on this issue, the report said that gambling regulators and gambling support services should draw up plans on how to engage experts by experiences. They should also develop a recruitment strategy that would enable them to reach a diverse range of experiences and should consult with those who had lived experience on how further engagement should be conducted, with flexible timing and a range of locations likely to be priorities.
The report went on to recommend that these bodies should hire a lead worker to focus on PPIEP and that communication with those who had experienced gambling harm should be appropriate, timely and constructive and that expenses policies should be put in place to ensure that those who participate are not left financially worse off by their participation.
Speaking about the report, the Chief Executive of GambleAware, Marc Etches, said that it had highlighted an ongoing weakness in the current framework for PPIEP. He added that although the research showed that there was already some engagement with those who had suffered gambling related harm, there weas a clear lack of reporting of such engagements. He emphasised that going forward it was important to capture the diverse range of views available to help improve and strengthen existing research, education and treatment and prevention initiatives.