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Funding boost for new health facilities welcomed

BOPDHB Board Chair Sir Michael Cullen (back row, second from right) alongside staff of the current Mental Health and Addictions inpatient facility (Ward 8) at Whakatāne Hospital.

The announcement that the Bay of Plenty will be getting two new mental health and addictions facilities thanks to a $45 million funding boost has been warmly welcomed.

It has been announced that the Bay of Plenty District Health Board will receive $30 million for the creation of a new mental health and addictions facility in Tauranga and $15 million for one in Whakatane.

BOPDHB interim CE Simon Everitt and BOPDHB board chair Sir Michael Cullen says they were thrilled at the news and outlined what it would mean.

“First and foremost the announcement is wonderful news for our patients, their whānau and the communities we serve; as they will be the ones who will benefit from these new facilities in the future,” says Simon.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this additional funding from the government. It will give us the opportunity to create two purpose-built, future-proofed, facilities with the needs of patients and their whānau and our staff at the forefront of the design.

“We will be able to take a fresh look at the way we provide care, taking greater account of the cultural appropriateness of our services, and design these new facilities accordingly. That’s a unique opportunity.

“The demand for mental healthcare in the Bay of Plenty is ever increasing. Acute mental health services are for those patients who are in need of urgent inpatient care. Acute mental health services include access to specialist psychiatric care, intensive psychiatric care and detoxification facilities. All of these will be enhanced within the new facilities.”

BOPDHB Board Chair Sir Michael Cullen echoed those sentiments.

“In the Eastern Bay, the funding there gives us an opportunity to upgrade our inpatient mental health and addiction facility to one which more appropriately reflects modern care practices, is built around modern design principles and the needs of our patients and their families. Importantly, with our high Māori population in the Eastern Bay, this facility needs to better reflect their needs.

“In Tauranga, our rapidly expanding population means that bed capacity is an issue we will now be able to address. We are also caring for an increasing number of patients locally who have a greater complexity of need. This means we are able to care for these patients closer to home in the most appropriate care setting to support them. This new mental health and addiction facility will more readily enable that.

“We have had some challenging times in the Bay recently, particularly around Whakaari/White Island and it’s wonderful to have some really positive news like this to begin 2020. Our staff members in these facilities work incredibly hard to provide the very best care for our patients and this is an important boost for them as well.”

Construction on the two facilities is expected to get underway in the next 12-18 months.

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