Gambling addiction in primary care: a survey of general practitioners in Solihull
We set out to study GPs’ understanding of gambling addiction, their experiences of, and confidence in, managing these patients in primary care, their perceived role and feasibility, their views on funding gambling treatment services, etc. To this end, we carried out a postal questionnaire survey of all GPs (N=136) in Solihull, England. Ninety eight (98) of the 136 (72%) GPs returned completed questionnaires. Three-quarters of GPs had seen gambling addicts in their practice but none had ever received any training in the management of gambling addiction. The large majority of GPs acknowledged that gambling addiction was an important public health problem with significant potential adverse impacts. 90.8% of GPs expressed lack of confidence in managing these patients but most were keen to do more to help, and receive training. Although they saw this disorder being within their remit, they highlighted that potential resource implications ought to be addressed if gambling addicts are to be successfully managed in primary care. Much more needs to be done to improve the identification and treatment of gambling addicts in primary care settings. Most GPs saw the care of these patients as within their remit, were willing to get involved and were receptive to more training. We hope our findings will inform the development and implementation of any future training program for GPs.
Keywords: Gambling addiction; Primary care; General practitioners; Management