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New First - Second New Training Programme Developed for Medical Students on Gambling Harm

Following the success of Gambling Harm UK's - Real Patient Simulated Based Medical Education (RPSMBE) Upskilling Programme developed in 2022, we have now developed a second new training programme for medical students. This programme was delivered to year one medical students at Imperial College on the 5th June 2023.

The feedback on the new programme was excellent and we will be now looking to offer this programme to medical schools along with our RPSMBE programme.

The new programme has been designed to achieve two learning objectives for the students:

· The first is to help them achieve an understanding of gambling harm as a public health issue.

· The second is to increase their understanding from a clinician’s perspective.

A short summary of the evaluation feedback from those students who attended these new workshops, along with testimonials from Doctors Donovan and Thakerar who we worked with to plan the new programme are shown below:

Dr Molly Donovan:

The workshop by Gambling Harm UK for Imperial medical students was really impactful. It broke down the complexities of gambling harm and provided unique insight through lived experience which set it apart from conventional teaching methods. Students gained both practical skills to identify and address gambling harm, and a wider awareness of the need for a multi-faceted, population level approach in tackling the harm from gambling. I strongly believe that all medical students should have the opportunity to attend a workshop like this. Thank you, John and Ben!

Dr Viral Thakerar:

The session delivered by John and Ben for our medical students was a powerful call to action. The blend of neuroscience, data on harms from gambling including on affected others, film clips, lived experience and discussing what clinicians and wider society should do, seemed to resonate with our students. There were plenty of thought-provoking questions and responses throughout the session.


At the end of each of the one hour and fifty-minute session, students were asked:

Would you prefer more, less, or the same amount of learning on gambling harm at the Under Graduate level?

Responses by group were as follows:

Group 1: 27 attendees (17 responses submitted via Menti)

Less More The Same

0 3 14

Group 2: 24 attendees (13 responses submitted via Menti)

Less More The Same

0 1 12

In response to the question: What is your key takeaway message?

Students responded as follows:

Group 1:

Gambling is a learned behaviour

Gambling is very common

The process of gambling is just as rewarding as winning the bet

The harms of gambling and the way the industry uses tactics and marketing to get people into gambling

Affects more deeply than previously thought

There is a strong psychological & biological basis behind gambling

Gambling can affect anyone, and may not show immediate signs

Gambling can affect every aspect of life

That gambling is an impulse and that although it may be due to neural circuits developed in the brain and life stressors, there's a huge degree of responsibility on gambling companies

Gambling is more widespread and more harmful than it seems. Significance of MECC (Make Every Contact Count). Also ask about gambling when relevant in patient history taking

There is no deliberate choice involved in gambling and the process is as rewarding as the satisfaction of winning.

Gambling harm can manifest in several forms

That gambling is a hidden addiction which needs to be treated with good support and empathy

The gambling industry heavily encourages gambling much more than I originally thought

Loss-chasing, crime, disguising losses as wins, bright imagery to camouflage bad habit

The effects gambling can have on all aspects of someone’s life

Gambling harm can have varying extents between individuals. Gambling harm can include financial, social, cultural legal. It’s a behavioural addiction increased by the industry but helped by charity, NHS

There are various different methods the gambling industry uses to get people to gamble more

Not enough awareness on gambling as a public health issue Not enough updated legislation on gambling after phones Not enough research on gambling

Gambling can occur due to an array of different factors, not solely down to the idea of making money quickly

Group 2:

Gambling is a serious disorder

Gambling disorder can affect not just the person suffering but the people around them

Gambling can affect others as well as the gambler

Gambling isn’t always a matter of being irresponsible

Gambling is a disorder - not the persons fault

Gambling can affect you and those around you

The process of gambling is almost the same in the brain as winning. It's an uncontrollable impulse disorder that can affect anyone

Gambling is not the gamblers’ fault and is more than just a lack of willpower

Gambling harm affects mental health greatly

The harm caused to the individual and affected others

Gambling can affect anyone and is a much more prevalent problem than I previously thought

Gambling is a health condition

Important to not look at people gambling with prejudice but instead be open to help them especially as clinicians

There are many reasons why someone may gamble

It is not normally mentioned in consultations and hence should be asked about whilst taking a social history.

Be aware of the many aspects gambling can affect in someone’s life

Gambling has many serious repercussions for the person gambling and their relationships with people around them

Gambling may likely need intervention

When asked - What did you like most about the session?

Students gave the following responses:

Group 1:


Interactive, liked the videos shown and thought the content was very engaging.

Engaging, interesting topic, like the way it was delivered with videos

Personal anecdotes

Personal experience of facilitators

Used personal experiences to make the point.

The cases and videos

I liked that personal stories were shared which showed us that gambling affects normal people too.

Liked the video and the gamblers story

Enthusiasm of the talkers

It was very informative and comprehensive

Very informative and personal story

The organisation

Group 2:


Very interactive and videos were helpful and engaging.

It was really informative, as I had never given gambling much consideration before.

The videos

It was very informative and interactive.

Very multifaceted, with multiple causes and effects explored

Talking about the techniques Gambling companies use.

Very enlightening session and highlighted the issues of stigma

Information given aside real-life stories

When asked - What did you dislike most about the session? – Key themes were

Would have valued more opportunity to speak with facilitators during the session

A little long and may have benefited from being broken down into more than one session or done during earlier in the day.

Wish a greater proportion of the time could have been allocated to personal lived experience stories

Maybe more of a group type discussion rather than lecture style


Nothing - Nil

Facilitator ratings given by students:

Group 1: 14 Excellent, 3 Good

Group 2: 11 Excellent, 2 Good.


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