A SPECIALISED psychiatric facility in the new Bendigo Hospital will help address the growing demand for mental health services.
Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said people with mental illnesses from across the region would be offered unique care in the 80-bed centre, which is designed to combine services on one site.
Ms Wooldridge said Victoria’s largest regional hospital project would include an integrated psychiatric facility that combined all bed-based psychiatric services with other inpatient services on the one site.
She said the ability to have all psychiatric services on the one site was a first for Victoria.
The new $630 million hospital will provide 80 mental health beds for Bendigo and surrounding regions and include a 35-bed adult psychiatric unit, a 20-bed aged psychiatric unit, a 20-bed secure extended care unit and a five-bed mother and baby unit.
Bendigo Health psychiatric services director Associate Professor Philip Tune said the announcement to build the new hospital was a great outcome for Bendigo.
“We will be able to deliver mental health services in a new purpose-built facility which will be of great benefit to the people of Bendigo and surrounding areas,” Dr Tune said.
“As clinicians, we are all very excited because working in a purpose-built, integrated facility will provide the best environment for our staff, patients and their loved ones, and will assist us in providing the best possible treatment and care.”
Ms Wooldridge said the new hospital would incorporate a range of environments to enhance the specialist care provided in the new psychiatric units.
She said it would significantly increase the capacity of the hospital to treat more patients.
“The design will focus on creating a therapeutic environment, rather than an institutional-type setting,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“This will maximise opportunities for privacy and recreation for patients, allow gender separation and improve safety for staff and the patients in their care.
The hospital will also have a separate and discrete visitors’ lounge and provide a safe and secure visiting children’s area, with direct access to an external courtyard to help maintain the bond between children and their parents and family members during inpatient stay.
“Patients will have personal access control for their bedrooms and staff observations will be balanced against the patients’ need for privacy,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“The design will assist staff to carry out their duties safely and to provide supervision by allowing or restricting access unobtrusively and in a manner consistent with patient needs.”
The announcement comes after the state government recently opened the first regional Youth Prevention and Recovery Care Service in Bendigo.
This service will provide 24-hour mental health treatment and support for young people aged 16 to 25 years.