Artist’s impression of Acute Mental Health Unit at Ipswich Hospital. Construction will start next week.
Artist’s impression of Acute Mental Health Unit at Ipswich Hospital. Construction will start next week.

Construction of $91m mental health facility set to start

CONSTRUCTION on Ipswich’s new $91 million Acute Mental Health Unit will begin next week.

It is at the heart of West Moreton Health’s expansion to service the fastest growing area in Queensland.

Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the state government has invested more than $146 million over five years for stage one of the expansion of Ipswich Hospital and associated health services.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service board chair Michael Willis.
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service board chair Michael Willis.

Construction company BESIX Watpac has been appointed as the main works contractor to build the new three-storey mental health facility.

It will feature three internal courtyards for patients and their families.

The unit is expected to be finished by late next year with hundreds of native trees, shrubs and a bush tucker garden to be planted on site.

“Delivering the master planned Ipswich Health Precinct has been a top priority for the Palaszczuk Government because it means that locals will have improved access to top-quality healthcare and create local jobs along the way,” she said.

West Moreton Hospital and Health Board Chair Michael Willis said with the region’s total population predicted to almost double to about 587,000 in the next 15 years, the Ipswich Health Precinct was “vital”.

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“Redeveloping Ipswich Hospital while continuing to deliver the same level of health service to our community is a complex and rewarding challenge, he said.

“However, it is worth rising to the challenge because this purpose-built facility will make a significant difference to the patients in our care.”

Jordan MP Charis Mullen said the site was now cleared and ready for construction to begin.

“The new mental health unit will provide a contemporary environment for best practice mental health care and assessment, recovery and rehabilitation services,” she said.

The existing mental health unit will be demolished when the new facility is built with the land to be used for future expansion and development of the precinct.

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An enclosed overhead bridge will link the new facility with Ipswich Hospital.

Stage one of the West Moreton Health master plan includes a $5.2 million MRI suite, which opened at the Ipswich Hospital at the end of 2019 and a $25 million 26-bed ward and refurbished space for allied health, oncology and outpatient care.

The first outpatient spaces in the hospital are set to open this month and the 26-bed ward will open by the end of the year.

West Moreton Health has received $2 million to start planning for stage two of the 15-year master plan, which includes a business case to consider what the Ipswich City Council buildings it bought for $20.65 million will be used for.

The state government has also announced funding of $22 million for renal and nephrology services, an $11 million Ipswich Hospital emergency department expansion and a $9.3 million obstetric theatre.

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Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.