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Canberra
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Ian Cubitts
Ian Cubitts

New mental health unit to be ready next year

A new, low-dependency mental health unit is set to be up and running at the Canberra Hospital during mid-2021.

Work to refurbish what was previously the 12B Ward is ready to commence and will provide an additional 10 beds for low-dependency patients.

ACT Mental Health Minister Shane Rattenbury said the unit will address the 68% increase in Emergency Department presentations admitted to the Adult Mental Health Unit since 2014/15.

“The 12B Low Dependency Unit will reduce waiting times for mental health patients and improve access to specialised and individual interventions, reducing recovery time and length of stay in hospital,” he said.

“These additional beds will also improve patient flow throughout the system, reducing pressure on acute and sub-acute inpatient beds.”

The new mental health unit is one addition in a range of infrastructure projects committed to improving mental health inpatient services in the Territory.

This includes an extension to the Brian Hennessy Rehabilitation Centre care unit, which is set to be completed by the end of the year, and the Adolescent Mental Health Unit at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

Planning for an Eating Disorders Residential Treatment Facility in the ACT is also underway, as well as a community-based mental health facility in the south of Canberra.

Mr Rattenbury said he expected the number of projects would continue to improve mental health services in the region.

“This investment aims to develop a dynamic and flexible service that improves safety for staff and consumers and improves the quality of care that can be provided,” he said.

“Ultimately, we expect to see improved patient outcomes through faster admission and access to the mental health services that the patient needs.”

Two Safe Haven Peer Led Cafes will also be established, as locations for people to interact with staff who have lived experiences with mental health.

The Federal Government’s Community Health and Hospitals Program is providing $10 million worth of funding towards the projects.

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