Health advocates have welcomed news $45 million will be pumped into two new acute mental health facilities in the Bay to help alleviate ''stretched'' services.
Yesterday, Minister of Health Dr David Clark said $30m was earmarked for Tauranga Hospital with another $15m set aside for Whakatane Hospital as part of the Government's $300m package of priority health investments.
"The announcement means the Bay of Plenty DHB can now get on and plan this important work with certainty," Clark said.
''This funding will make a big difference to people who need to access acute care.''
The acute mental health facilities in Tauranga and Whakatane are outdated and not well placed to meet growing demand, he said.
"This investment will deliver modern, fit for purpose facilities which will ensure service users' needs are better supported. They will provide a more culturally appropriate and therapeutic environment and be better placed to meet future demand.''
Tauranga Salvation Army community ministries manager Davina Plummer said mental health was a challenging area and the investment would make a huge difference.
''We see it on a daily basis. There is a real need for more support and more services for those struggling with mental health.
''Anything that is going to ease that strain and pressure for people and families experiencing mental health, as well as service providers who are stretched, is going to be really appreciated.''
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Plummer said times were changing with people being encouraged to seek help and she hoped ''people are aware they can reach out for help without being judged''.
MP for Bay of Plenty Todd Muller gave credit where credit was due and he acknowledged the services were needed and had campaigned on the issue.
But Muller said the city the size of Tauranga also had to have more drug and alcohol addiction services which he hoped would be a component of the new facility.
''There is a feeling out in the community that Tauranga is under siege at the moment with gangs and a spike in reported crime. I am absolutely convinced drugs and alcohol sits behind it and we absolutely need more specialist services to help break the cycle.''
Meanwhile, Bay of Plenty District Health Board interim chief executive Simon Everitt said acute mental health services were for patients who needed 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.''
Everitt said the DHB was thrilled to receive the additional funding which ''will give us the opportunity to create two purpose-built, future-proofed facilities with the needs of our patients, whanau and staff at the forefront of their design''.
On the flip side, the Lakes District Health Board would get a share of $3.2m for mobile dental services.
How will the $300 million be spent?
* $83 million for expanded neonatal intensive care to help our most vulnerable new-borns, and improved maternity care for expectant mother.
* $96 million for mental health and addiction capital projects so facilities better support treatment and recovery.
* Money to support regional health services pushing ahead with projects to deal with the legacy of underinvestment in hospital facilities. Source Minister of Health