Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North

The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital.

The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in Waikato last month and Tairāwhiti in June.

“For too long mental health and addiction has been neglected, but as a government we’ve made improving services a priority since day one. That must include better facilities that support people’s treatment and recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“When I visit mental health services I’m always impressed with the compassion and professionalism of staff, but too often I hear that their work is made harder because of the rundown state of facilities. We’re getting on with the job of fixing that.

“The current mental health facility at Palmerston North Hospital was opened almost 20 years ago. The way we care for people has come a long way since then, and we need facilities that reflect modern best practice.

“The upgraded facility will address the existing lack of space and privacy that compromises the safety and security of staff and patients. 

“It will create a far more supportive environment which will better support people to return home sooner. There will be more shared spaces for family members, an increase in the number of beds and flexibility for further growth in future,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Funding for the project comes from the $1.7 billion dollars invested in Budget 2019 for upgrading and building new hospital and health facilities across the country.

“Upgrading our hospitals and mental health facilities is a huge undertaking that will take time, but we’re making progress,” David Clark said.

“It’s important these facilities create a safe and supportive environment that makes it easy to deliver quality care in a culturally appropriate way.

“So it’s great to know that the DHB is working with the people who use these services, whānau, local iwi and service providers on the design.

“Today’s announcement gives the DHB confidence to push ahead with this work, noting that funding remains subject to the full business case being approved,” Dr Clark said.

The business case for the upgrade is expected to be complete by mid-2020. Following the design phase, the project will go out for tender, with construction expected to take about two and a half years.

NOTE: Today’s announcement is the latest in a growing list of investments this Government has made in our hospitals and other health facilities. Since Budget 2018 funding has been confirmed for projects up and down New Zealand including:

  • $100m for a new mental health facility in Hamilton
  • $300m redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, building a new East Wing to house a range of critical and acute services
  • $275m for Auckland DHB to address significant infrastructure challenges at Auckland City Hospital and Greenlane Clinical Centre 
  • $200m (plus $42.1m from the DHB) for a new elective surgery unit at North Shore Hospital 
  • $80m for four projects at Counties Manukau DHB including recladding of the Kidz First Building and establishing a radiology hub at the Manukau SuperClinic
  • $79m for new specialist mental health facilities at Canterbury DHB’s Hillmorton campus
  • $45.6m for the new Wellington Children’s Hospital
  • $30m for a new integrated stroke unit at Auckland DHB
  • $24m for new endoscopy and cardiac care capacity at Northland DHB’s Whangarei Hospital 
  • $20m for new Buller Hospital Integrated Family Unit
  • $8.4m for Individualised Service Units at Capital and Coast DHB for our most high needs intellectual disability and mental health patients 
  • $7.1m for the Phase 2 redevelopment at Bay of Islands Hospital
  • $15-20m for new in-patient mental health and addiction unit at Hauora Tairāwhiti Gisborne Hospital

In addition, good progress is being made on the Dunedin Hospital rebuild project and Budget 2019 included a ring-fenced contingency to fund the work.