NSW Nationals Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson has announced a site has been selected for Tamworth’s new mental health care unit – a new ‘Banksia’.
“This is fantastic news for the future of mental health care, patients and their carers,” Mr Anderson said.
“We have been working hard on this project for some time, and today’s announcement of a new, large, modern facility provides the springboard to meet the demands of mental health care into the future.”
Mr Anderson said the new Banksia will be built next to the main hospital building, in close proximity to the emergency department, and physically connected to existing hospital services, integrating mental health with other acute services.
“The design of the unit is being determined in partnership with the community, patient’s families, carers and staff to ensure it meets the needs of people using the service,” Mr Anderson said.
“The new facility will continue to offer rehabilitation psychiatry, drug and alcohol counselling, Aboriginal mental health services and care for adolescent patients and older people. The selected site also has potential space for a courtyard and outdoor areas.”
The new Banksia Unit will be able to support approximately 30 per cent more patients each year, with additional beds for older people.
NSW Nationals Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor said the new Banksia unit will provide acute mental health care to patients from Tamworth and communities across the New England North West.
“The NSW Nationals in the state government are committed to supporting mental health care reform, and the new facility will provide patients with a truly therapeutic environment that supports recovery,” Mrs Taylor said.
The NSW Nationals in the state government announced in July 2020 that Tamworth Hospital would get an entirely new mental health unit, after refurbishment plans were scrapped in favour of a larger, modern, purpose-built building.
The Rotary Lodge carer accommodation units currently stand on the preferred site for the new mental health unit. The Rotary units will be removed to allow construction of the new Banksia facility to go ahead.
The Local Health District has discussed the plan in detail with Rotary representatives and has committed to building or refurbishing new, modern carer accommodation on the hospital site to replace the accommodation donated by Rotary and the wider community many years ago.
“The new Banksia is yet another example of the NSW Nationals in the state government delivering on its promises following strong representations from the community,” Mr Anderson said.
Construction timeframes will be determined as planning progresses.
The new unit is being funded as part of the NSW Nationals in the state government’s $700 million Statewide Mental Health Infrastructure Program.