New acute mental health facility for BOP

Health Minister Chris Hipkins at Rotorua Hospital today. Photos: Matthew Martin/Rotorua Now.

A new acute inpatient mental health facility at Rotorua Hospital will provide more patient-centred and culturally appropriate care to better support recovery, says Health Minister Chris Hipkins.

“Improving mental health and addiction services remains one of the biggest long-term challenges facing New Zealand.

“Lakes DHB’s existing Whare Whakaue 14-bed acute mental health and addictions facility is over 40 years old, in poor condition, and in spite of the dedicated work by staff, is affecting the quality of care delivered, putting people at risk.

“The growing number of people in Rotorua, Taupō and surrounding areas requiring this support deserve better and that’s why I’m pleased to confirm the Government has signed off on the DHB’s business case to replace this facility."

Hipkins says the new facility will make a real difference to service users, whānau and staff. It will have capacity for around 16 beds and the potential for future expansion to 20 beds.

He says there will be flexibility to better meet specific needs, such as young adults and older people.

"The facility will be more spacious and light with improved whānau spaces, and a safer more therapeutic environment to support recovery.

"Improved health outcomes will reduce re-admissions and demand for sub-acute and community beds.

“Lakes DHB is also committed to strengthening its mental health and addiction services through more integrated primary care and community based acute options, and strong linkages with outreach, home and community services.

“This will mean people can get better and earlier access to services, particularly for at risk groups such as pregnant mothers, youth, Māori and people with alcohol and drug addictions."

Lakes DHB will continue to engage with service users and whānau, along with community based providers and DHB staff, as the project progresses.

“Local iwi have been very involved in the project which will ensure the facility meets the needs of the District’s Māori communities, helping to reduce inequities,” says Hipkins.

“This is important as Lakes DHB, which serves over 110,000 people, has around 35 per cent Māori compared to the national average of 15 per cent.”

Construction of the new facility is due to start in the second half of next year. It is expected to take about two years to complete the build.

The Government is providing $25 million in funding for the project with the DHB contributing a further $6 million.

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