Government confirms new acute mental health facility for Lakes DHB

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

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

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

“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.

“This 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.

“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,” said Chris Hipkins.

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 Chris 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.

Notes to editors:

This new acute mental health facility is in addition to other new or recently expanded mental health and addition services in the Lakes District, including:

  • The Pūtake Nui Rangatahi Potential youth primary mental health and addiction service that will be able to see more young people more quickly and offer a wider range of options of mental health and wellbeing support
  • A new mobile Home & Community managed withdrawal service that is expected to support up to 40 service users people per year
  • A new addiction peer support service that will support people post - residential AOD care based in Rotorua and Taupō
  • The integrated primary mental health and addiction services based in GP clinics. Lakes District was one of the initial DHB areas to have these services which involve the addition of Health Improvement Practitioners and Health Coaches to  GP teams, which are funded as part of Budget 2019’s $455 million for expanding access and choice of primary mental health and addiction services.

The funding announced today takes the Government’s total investment to upgrade mental health facilities to around $435 million since Budget 2018.

This investment includes:

  • A new mental health facility in Hamilton ($100m Budget 2019)
  • A new unit at Waitematā DHB’s Mason Clinic ($60m Budget 2019)
  • Upgrading the mental health facility at Palmerston North Hospital ($30m Budget 2019)
  • A new inpatient mental health and addiction unit at Tairāwhiti ($18.8m Budget 2019)
  • A new acute mental health facility at Tauranga Hospital ($30m NZUP)
  • A new acute mental health facility Whakatane Hospital ($15m NZUP)
  • A new acute mental health unit at Hutt Valley DHB ($30m NZUP)
  • Completing the refurbishment of the mental health facility in Taranaki ($8m NZUP)
  • Five new projects still to be announced (around $27m NZUP)
  • New specialist mental health facilities at Hillmorton, Canterbury ($79m Budget 2018)
  • New individualised Service Units at Capital and Coast DHB ($12.8m Budget 2018)