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Funding announced for new mental health facility

19 November 2019

MidCentral DHB welcomes Government funding of $30m to upgrade the Adult Inpatient Acute Mental Health facility at Palmerston North Hospital.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister of Health Dr David Clark announced the funding package for an upgrade to mental health facility, also known Ward 21, during a visit to the hospital on Thursday 14, November.

MidCentral DHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook welcomed the funding boost, saying it would make a big difference to service users, their whānau and staff.

“We have a clear need for a more people-centred, modern, therapeutic environment, which supports people to achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes,” Ms Cook said.

“This investment will allow the DHB to work with staff, patients and whānau to design a fit-for-purpose facility that will enable a broader focus on wellbeing and allow us to change many lives for the better.”

“It will also allow the DHB to make significant changes to the way we work and to ensure that our inpatient unit is more culturally appropriate.”

MidCentral DHB is nearing completion of a business case to determine the best option for the upgrade. This case is expected to be finalised by early next year following approval from the MidCentral Board and the Ministry of Health.

Ms Cook said: “The new unit is likely to have a small increase in beds, and there will be additional acute community-based alternative facilities. The full upgrade should be completed in the next two and half years.”

Mental Health and Addictions Clinical Executive Dr Vanessa Caldwell said there were a series of engagements held throughout the year with mental health service users, staff, whānau, iwi and health providers to gain a greater understanding of what a new facility should look like.

“This engagement will continue as we progress this project as it is vital we provide the communities we serve with a facility that puts them at the centre of everything we do,” Dr Caldwell said.

“This funding is very much needed and we look forward to a new people-centred, culturally appropriate service that will enhance the wellbeing of our inpatients.”

A conceptual impression of what the new adult inpatient acute mental health facility may look like.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern plants a kowhai tree at Palmerston North Hospital to commemorate the funding for a new adult inpatient acute mental health facility.


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