New mental health facilities for Hillmorton in Christchurch

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister David Clark have announced additional funding for the construction of new specialist mental health facilities at Canterbury DHB’s Hillmorton campus.

The Government has approved $79 million for the project, which will see mental health services currently housed at The Princess Margaret Hospital relocated to Hillmorton. These include services for mothers and babies, as well as child, adolescent and family inpatient services and adults with high and complex needs.

“Mental health has been a priority for this Government since day one. Part of that is ensuring that we have quality facilities that reflect modern methods of care. We want to create physical environments that support people’s treatment and recovery,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“In our first Budget we set aside $750 million for capital projects (the largest capital injection in Health in at least a decade) including upgrading mental health facilities in the interests of both staff and patients.

“This development will create a modern, flexible environment for mothers and their families, children and adolescents. It will include access to the outdoors and green spaces and will be a massive improvement on the current facilities at the ageing Princess Margaret site,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Health Minister David Clark said today’s announcement is a further sign of the Government’s commitment to tackling problems in the mental health sector.

“There’s no question that as a country we can do better to support mental health and wellbeing in our communities. The need has been particularly evident in Canterbury as people live day-to-day with the legacy of earthquakes.

“The current mental health facilities at Princess Margaret are tired and far from ideal. Relocating these family mental health services to new, purpose built buildings will make a real difference to patients and the dedicated staff that care for them.

“Of course buildings and specialist services are only part of the picture when it comes to addressing mental health and wellbeing. As the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction made clear we need to put people at the centre of our mental health response, intervene early and support wellbeing in our communities at every level.

“That is the approach that will drive the Government’s response to the Inquiry to be announced next month. In the meantime, I’m pleased we are getting on with the job of improving mental health facilities and services,” said David Clark.

The new facilities, with a floor area of 7,880 square metres, will contain an Integrated Family Service Centre with a 16 bed inpatient and day patient child, adolescent and family service, and a 13 bed and 5 to 7 cot space for mothers and babies as well as eating disorders inpatient and outpatient services. 

A separate High and Complex Unit will include 16 inpatient adult beds for a range of treatment options including long term, and intensive rehabilitation.

The Indicative Business case for the project estimated the cost at $57-million. The budget was increased to $79-million when it became clear there was a need for more space for mothers and their families, and also flexible spaces for children and adolescents.

Management of the redevelopment project will sit with Canterbury DHB. This is in line with similar DHB infrastructure projects across the country. There will be oversight by the Ministry and the Hospital Redevelopment Partnership Group.

The location of the Child, Adolescent and Family outpatient service will be progressed separately by the DHB. It is standard practice in other DHBs for these services to be based in a different location within the community.

Other Government initiatives and investments in mental health (excluding the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction):

  • In February 2018 the Mana Ake programme was launched, putting mental health support in primary and intermediate schools in Christchurch and Kaikoura
  • In Budget 2018 the nurses in schools programme was extended to cover all decile 4 secondary schools
  • Also in Budget 2018, DHB funding for mental health and addiction services was boosted by $200 million over four years
  • In June 2018 the Government announced funding for the construction of new drug and alcohol detoxification facilities in Auckland
  • In December the Government made it cheaper for about 600,000 people to visit their doctor – which is often where people turn first when they are looking for mental health support
  • Earlier this month the Piki pilot programme was launched in Porirua. Piki gives 18-25 year olds with mild to moderate mental health needs access to free mental health