The Government has announced a new mental health facility will be built in Rotorua.
Health Minister Chris Hipkins was in Rotorua for the announcement, and said the new acute inpatient mental health facility would aim to provide more patient-centred and culturally appropriate care to better support recovery.
"Improving mental health and addiction services remains one of the biggest long-term challenges facing New Zealand," Hipkins said.
"Lakes DHB's existing Whare Whakaue 14-bed acute mental health and addictions facility is over 40 years old, in poor condition, and in spite of the dedicated work by staff, is affecting the quality of care delivered, putting people at risk.
"The growing number of people in Rotorua, Taupō and surrounding areas requiring this support deserve better and that's why I'm pleased to confirm the Government has signed off on the DHB's business case to replace this facility."
Construction of the new facility at Rotorua Hospital is due to start in the second half of next year. It is expected to take about two years to complete the build.
The Government is providing $25 million in funding for the project with the DHB contributing a further $6m.
He said the new facility would have capacity for about 16 beds and the potential for future expansion to 20 beds.
"There will be flexibility to better meet specific needs, such as young adults and older people. The facility will be more spacious and light with improved whānau spaces, and a safer more therapeutic environment to support recovery.
"Improved health outcomes will reduce re-admissions and demand for sub-acute and community beds."
Hipkins said Lakes DHB was also committed to strengthening its mental health and addiction services through more integrated primary care and community based acute options.
"This will mean people can get better and earlier access to services, particularly for at risk groups such as pregnant mothers, youth, Māori and people with alcohol and drug addictions.
"Local iwi have been very involved in the project which will ensure the facility meets the needs of the district's Māori communities, helping to reduce inequities.
"This is important as Lakes DHB, which serves over 110,000 people, has around 35 per cent Māori compared to the national average of 15 per cent."
This new acute mental health facility is in addition to other new or recently expanded mental health and addiction services in the Lakes District, including:
· The Pūtake Nui Rangatahi Potential youth primary mental health and addiction service that will be able to see more young people more quickly and offer a wider range of options of mental health and wellbeing support.
· A new mobile Home & Community managed withdrawal service that is expected to support up to 40 service users people per year.
· A new addiction peer support service that will support people post-residential AOD care based in Rotorua and Taupō.
· The integrated primary mental health and addiction services based in GP clinics. Lakes District was one of the initial DHB areas to have these services which involve the addition of Health Improvement Practitioners and Health Coaches to GP teams, which are funded as part of Budget 2019's $455m for expanding access and choice of primary mental health and addiction services.