Construction on a new acute mental health inpatient unit at Hervey Bay Hospital is on track to start this week, marking the beginning of $39.6 million worth of investment to more than double mental health bed capacity on Queensland’s Fraser Coast.
Following completion of the unit’s detailed design and the awarding of the main construction contract to Woollam Constructions, early works are set to get underway at the site, which sits next to the new emergency department, facing Urraween Road.
Queensland Minister for Health, Yvette D’Ath, said the new 22-bed unit marks an important expansion of local mental health services and will also be the base of operations for the Community Acute Care Team.
“It will enable more timely access for consumers and help to divert mental health presentations away from the emergency department,” the Minister said.
Member for Hervey Bay, Adrian Tantari, commented that for the first time, there will be mental health inpatient capacity at Hervey Bay, and that’s great news for the local community.
“The inpatient unit will also mean more jobs for the Fraser Coast, with an estimated 115 construction-related jobs created during the build and up to 30 additional ongoing health-related roles once in the region,” Mr Tantari said.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Board Chair, Peta Jamieson, added that the project will be a game-changer for mental health on the Fraser Coast.
“Developing and expanding our inpatient and community mental health services is a key part of our strategic plan, Care Comes First… Through Patients’ Eyes,” she said.
“Our Mental Health team has advocated strongly for the need to increase our services on the Fraser Coast, and this project will help to address that need by significantly increasing our inpatient capacity and tailoring our services to suit the needs of our community.”
According to WBHHS Executive Director of Mental Health and Specialised Services, Robyn Bradley, the design of the acute inpatient unit has been strongly driven by input from consumers, clinicians and service partners.
“The end result will be a fantastic facility focused on recovery, while also drawing on the latest technology to ensure the safety of our consumers and staff,” Ms Bradley said.
“Its close proximity to Hervey Bay Hospital’s emergency department will enable our team to work more collaboratively with the emergency team, which will mean better outcomes for our consumers.”