Saturday, April 13, 2024

First sod turned on new Gisborne mental health facility

Health Minister, Andrew Little, visited Gisborne Hospital today to mark the next step of Te Tairāwhiti’s new Te Whare Awhiora mental health facility build.

The Health Minister turned a sod to mark the start of groundworks at the site, in preparation for the placement of a mauri stone.

“The name Te Whare Awhiora reflects the new facility’s purpose which will be to provide a ‘house to support wellbeing’ for some of the community’s most vulnerable to become well again,” Mr Little said.

The new 10-bed facility will support staff to provide contemporary care in safe, therapeutic, environments to support patients on their road to recovery.

“Building new and improved facilities like Te Whare Awhiora that align with new models of care will make a huge difference to patients and staff. Putting people at the centre of healthcare with better services and supports is what our plan for building a new mental health system is all about,” the Minister said.

The new unit will replace the old unit in the northern corner of the Hospital site and increase the number of beds from 8 to 10. It has been designed in partnership with mana whenua, and local artist, Nick Tupara. 

The facility will include a whare, whānau spaces, flexible therapy rooms and a specially-designed outdoor courtyard.

“Te Whare Awhiora is one of the five projects that was funded out of Budget 2019’s $1.9billion investment into mental wellbeing. It has taken longer than expected to get to this point but the project is now well underway,” Mr Little said.

“Our mental health facilities have not been up to scratch for a long time. Hospital infrastructure had been neglected for years and we’ve had to pick up the bill. We’ve made upgrading health facilities a priority with a $7 billion hospital re-build programme that includes Te Whare Awhiora.

“Budget 22 took the next step and invested $100 million in acute mental health services, including additional adult community places for former in-patients who are ready to transition back into the community because they no longer need to be in hospital for recovery.

“We’re building a whole new mental health system and part of that includes changing the way our facilities, services and models of care work to better support patients and staff.”

The mauri stone ceremony will take place with mana whenua next week and construction is expected to begin in early 2023.

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