Early works have begun for the new $91 million, 50-bed Acute Mental Health Unit (AMHU) to be built at Ipswich Hospital.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said the health care and social assistance services are vital to ensuring the health and wellbeing of Ipswich residents.
“The health care and social assistance sector is the largest employer in Ipswich, generating 10,985 local jobs in 2018/19,” Mayor Harding said.
“The Ipswich Health Precinct will secure future jobs in health in the city and provide the services our community needs as the population grows.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the funding was part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $146.3 million commitment for the master-planned Ipswich Health Precinct.
“This project, along with the $25 million 26-bed ward at Ipswich Hospital will increase the number of beds and meet the significant demand in the growing Ipswich region,” Mr Miles.
“Construction is a vital part of our plan for Queensland’s continued economic recovery from the global impact of COVID-19.
“The new building projects will support about 100 jobs during construction.”
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said works had begun after fencing was erected around the site.
“Every Queenslander, no matter where they live, deserves access to the best healthcare, including mental health care, which is what this project will deliver,” Ms Howard said.
“This will be a state-of-the-art and purpose-built facility that will make a significant difference to our growing community.”
Artist impression of the Ipswich Hospital Acute Mental Health Unit
West Moreton Health Chief Executive, Dr Kerrie Freeman said Hutchinson Builders were appointed contractor after a competitive tender process.
“Redeveloping the Ipswich Hospital while at the same time delivering the same level of service to our community is a complex and rewarding challenge,” Dr Freeman said.
“The new state-of-the art mental health unit allows us to fully construct the site without the need to redirect vital services.”
Other components of the Master Plan include an MRI suite, which was opened at Ipswich Hospital in December 2019, a new $25 million 26-bed ward at Ipswich Hospital and ongoing negotiations for the purchase of nearby Ipswich City Council assets for future expansion.
Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said the Acute Mental Health Unit was a significant project for the region.
“This is about investing in healthcare and also continuing with significant infrastructure projects to get people back to work,” he said.
“The early works phase of the development will include clearing and levelling the site and completing the removal or relocation of existing services, as well as demolition of buildings on the site.”
Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said the unit would increase the number of beds by six.
“This new building will provide a contemporary environment for mental health care. Not only will this make a huge difference to consumers, our hardworking frontline staff will be able to work in a modern environment and continue to deliver the best care possible,” Ms Mullen said.
“The current Acute Mental Health Unit, which was built in the 1990s, will be demolished once the new facility is in use, creating more available land for future hospital expansions.”
Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum said the new unit will be built across from Ipswich Hospital, and on Chelmsford and Kallara avenues and Walker Street.
“The new facility has been co-designed with consumers and clinicians,” Mr McCallum said.
“It will provide best practice mental health care and assessment, recovery and rehabilitation services.
“This project means more people can receive care closer to home.
“An enclosed overhead bridge will link the new facility with Ipswich Hospital for the safe movement of patients, staff and equipment.”
The 26 bed ward will be completed by late 2021.