Tamworth Hospital will get a new purpose-built mental health unit, after refurbishment plans were scrapped in favour of a larger, modern building.

Minister for Mental Health Bronnie Taylor said the NSW Nationals in the state government opted to invest in a complete rebuild to better care for the acute mental health needs of Tamworth and the surrounding communities.

“A new Banksia unit is a great outcome because it will boost access to acute mental health care when locals most need it, and assist our dedicated mental health workforce,” Mrs Taylor said.

“The new Banksia unit is expected to provide additional beds for older people; that means inpatient mental health support can be provided to approximately 30% more patients each year.”

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said locals with lived experience of mental illness will play a key role in shaping the design and layout of the mental health unit as soon as a site has been confirmed later this year.

“Tamworth Mental Health Carers Support Group will be front and centre in co-designing the new integrated, high quality Banksia facility at Tamworth Hospital,” Mr Anderson said.

“Family members, carers and staff will also collaborate on the design to make sure we create an environment that gives patients the best chance of managing their recovery into the future.”

The new facility will be constructed as part of the NSW Nationals in the state government’s $700 million statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program.