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Evaluation of Problem Gambling Intervention Services: Stage Three Final Report
Bellringer, M; Coombes, R; Pulford, J; Garrett, N; Abbott, M
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The Ministry of Health is responsible for the funding and coordination of problem gambling services and activities in New Zealand. This includes the funding of a national telephone helpline, two national face-to-face counselling services and several regional treatment providers which include Maori and Pacific specific services (Asian specific services are provided as a division of one of the national face-to-face treatment providers) (Ministry of Health, 2008a). From 2008, the Ministry of Health funded face-to-face problem gambling treatment providers have received specific training around the Ministry of Health expectations for service practice requirements (e.g. the types of intervention that will be funded and the processes expected within those interventions as well as for referrals for co-existing issues), and expectations around data collection, management and information submission to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health has also identified specific sets of screening instruments to be used with clients, which vary depending on whether the client is receiving a Brief or Full-length intervention, or is a problem gambler or family/whanau member („significant other‟) of a gambler. These screening instruments came into use in 2008, with different sets of instruments having been used previously. At the present time, the effectiveness of the current problem gambling treatment services is largely unknown, as is the optimal intervention process for different types of client. Whilst this sort of information can ultimately only be ascertained through rigorously conducted effectiveness studies (randomised controlled trials) (Westphal & Abbott, 2006), an evaluation (process, impact and outcome) of services could provide indications as to optimal treatment pathways and approaches for problem gamblers and affected others, as well as identifying successful strategies currently in existence nationally and internationally and areas for improvement in current service provision. In September 2008, the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre at Auckland University of Technology was commissioned by the Ministry of Health to conduct the research project Evaluation of problem gambling intervention services. This project was to focus on four priority areas: 1.) Review and analysis of national service statistics and client data to inform workforce development, evaluation of the Ministry of Health systems and processes, and other related aspects 2.) Process and outcome1 evaluation of the effect of different pathways to problem gambling services on client outcomes and delivery 3.) Process and outcome1 evaluation of distinct intervention services 4.) Process and outcome1 evaluation of the roll-out and implementation of Facilitation Services2