A major part of the West Moreton Hospital and Health Board’s current expansion plan, the $91m, 50-bed Acute Mental Health Unit (AMHU) of Ipswich Hospital is ready for construction.
According to the minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath, construction company BESIX Watpac has been appointed as the main works contractor to build the three-storey building.
Minister D’Ath said: “The Palaszczuk Government has invested more than $146.3m over 5 years for Stage 1 of the master-planned expansion of Ipswich Hospital and related health services to meet the needs of the fast-growing region. 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.”
West Moreton Hospital and Health Board Chair Michael Willis said: “The master-planned Ipswich Health Precinct is vital to ensuring we meet the health needs of West Moreton residents now and into the future. Redeveloping Ipswich Hospital while continuing to deliver the same level of health service to our community is a complex and rewarding challenge. However, it is worth rising to the challenge because this purpose-built facility will make a significant difference to the patients in our care.”
Willis also thanked the Queensland Government for its support.
Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum said: “We’ve already seen jobs flow out of the first stage of the Master Plan and once completed, locals will have improved access to world-class healthcare closer to home.”
He also said that this Ipswich Health Precinct was a top priority for the Palaszczuk Government.
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said: “A traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony was held on the site in March before the building’s foundations are laid. It was an honour to watch this ceremony and experience its inclusivity. It reflected the fact that this mental health unit has been co-designed with clinicians and community as a place of wellness and healing and a focus on person-centred care.”
Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said: “The Acute Mental Health Unit site has already been levelled and cleared in preparation for construction. The new mental health unit will provide a contemporary environment for best practice mental health care and assessment, recovery and rehabilitation services.”
With expected completion of the building scheduled in late 2022, hundreds of native trees, shrubs, plus a bush tucker garden will also be planted on site.
Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said: “When staff and consumers transition to the new building, the existing mental health unit at the hospital will be demolished. An enclosed overhead bridge will link the new facility with Ipswich Hospital for the safe movement of patients, staff and equipment. The demolition will free up valuable land on the hospital site for future expansion and development of the Ipswich Hospital Precinct.”
Planning is in progress for the next step in the Master Plan, which will involve a $2m Stage 2 business case to contemplate upon how best to use the existing facilities and future models of service at Ipswich.
The Master Plan’s Stage 1 components include an MRI suite opened at Ipswich Hospital in December 2019, a new $25m ward and refurbishments at Ipswich Hospital, and the $20.65m purchase of Ipswich City Council assets for future expansion.
Construction company BESIX Watpac has been appointed as the main works contractor to build the three-storey building. Credit: Martha Dominguez de Gouveia/Unsplash.