Lakes District Health Board has announced plans to design a new model of mental healthcare, which is likely to include new facilities.
Announced by DHB chairman Deryck Shaw today, the Mauri Ora project would see the board revisit its approach to care in order to understand future mental health facility requirements.
"The current mental health inpatient facility on the Rotorua Hospital site (Whare Whakaue) was adequate for its day, however 40 years later is no longer contemporary or meeting international clinical best practice," Shaw said.
"The unit is also in need of redevelopment due to its condition.
"The facility was built quite a while ago and there've been a lot of changes around mental health and treatment."
The Lakes Mental Health and Addictions Facility Development Governance Group has been established to oversee the project.
The DHB was also inviting others in the Lakes health system to participate in the project, to ensure new facilities support community needs.
Shaw said the group would be made up of board members, health professionals and staff who would seek advice from others and get others involved in the project if required.
The group will look at the DHB's model of care, or the way health services are delivered and produce a report on it.
Lakes DHB chief operating officer Nick Saville-Wood said the board aimed to have a final business case for the Ministry of Health in the last quarter of this year.
"Once that is approved then design and construction is likely to span 2019/20," Saville-Wood said.
He said issues with the current mental health facility included that it did not allow flexibility or enhance a feeling of wellbeing. It also required constant maintenance.
He said the governance group would consider options for the facility "once the models of care determine what is required".
"This may include either a total refurbishment option as well as a greenfields option."
Shaw said mental health and addictions care was mainly delivered in the community and other specialist services were accessed when necessary.
"An integrated and collaborative approach is needed between the DHB mental health and addictions service and primary health services, community providers and social service agencies."
He said planning for the project would involve iwi, mental health service users and their families and service providers.
Mauri Ora will take place alongside the Government's national inquiry into mental health.
Te Runanga o Ngati Pikiao Trust aims to promote mental health and prevent suicide in Rotorua and beyond. Project leader Michael Naera said the changes were a good start.
"It's been a long time coming. We have been screaming out for community input into mental health services," Naera said. "We've been a broken record for quite some time to get DHB to look at community involvement in mental health."
Naera said a system review was required in his view so that anyone with mental health conditions could access services "in a timely and culturally appropriate manner" at the hospital.