The National Health Service, or NHS, in the United Kingdom has announced that it intends to open it's first "game addiction" clinic to treat people aged between 13 and 25 years old for videogame addiction, following on from a recent announcement by the World Health Organisation that gaming disorder is now officially classified as a disease.
The new clinic will be part of the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions in London, and starting today, the NHS will take referrals to the clinic from GP's, with the first treatments scheduled to begin next month.
The clinic is based in London, but will utilize modern technology by offering consultations via Skype, another first for the NHS.
Simon Stevens, the chief executive for NHS England, stated;
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."
Several other commentators, including Stevens, have also expressed a desire for the games industry itself to step in and offer financial support for such treatments, rather than leaving the NHS to foot the bill alone.
The NHS is a taxpayer funded service that is free at the point of care, and with the NHS already suffering from a shortage of mental health nurses and doctors, there are some concerns about the staffing of the new service.
While the World Health Organization classified gaming disorder as an addiction with "significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning", the Entertainment Software Association among other industry bodies released a statement suggesting that there is insufficient evidence to prove the condition exists.