The West Moreton Health Master Plan will help ensure we continue to meet the healthcare needs of our growing and diverse community.
West Moreton is the state’s fastest growing region, with a population that is expected to double to 587,600 by 2036. Our community has higher than average rates of chronic disease and premature death. One in two people are considered to be socio-economically disadvantaged, and one in three people receive health care outside the region. As the population grows and ages, so too does the demand for public hospital services.
The number of public hospital admissions for West Moreton is expected to increase 207 per cent by 2036 – 37.
West Moreton Health is committed to developing health precincts that meet consumers’ needs, using technology and innovation to provide services more efficiently and sustainably. This means doing things differently in the future.
For these reasons, West Moreton Health has developed a 15-year, staged Master Plan which includes new infrastructure, new ways to provide care and strong partnerships with community members and other health providers. The Master Plan will help West Moreton Health manage demand and health need.
In November 2017 the Palaszczuk Government made an election commitment to Building Better Hospitals under the South East Queensland Planning for Growth Program. The commitment included funding for Stage 1 of West Moreton Health’s Master Plan.
On 12 March 2018, the Premier and Minister for Trade, the Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk and then Minister for Health and Ambulance Services, the Honourable Steven Miles MP, pledged $124.5 million for Stage 1A of the Ipswich Hospital redevelopment. Read the announcement here. This was in addition to $3 million to develop the Detailed Business Case for this stage.
Two years later, on 24 March 2020, Mr Miles (who is now Deputy Premier) announced a 26-bed ward to be built at Ipswich Hospital, as part of the Master Plan. Read the announcement here.
In 2020, funding was increased to $146.3 million to develop the Ipswich Health Precinct made up to:
- MRI capability: A $5.2 million MRI suite at Ipswich Hospital
- Acute Mental Health Unit: A $91 million 50-bed facility to provide care for adults and older people.
- 26-bed ward: A $25 million, 26-bed ward at Ipswich Hospital.
- The purchase of buildings in the central business district: Negotiations are well-advanced to buy several Ipswich City Council buildings in South Street for future clinical and non-clinical use.
Our new MRI suite is helping clinicians to rapidly diagnose life-threatening conditions such as spinal infections, cancer, stroke, heart and brain issues. At the heart of the MRI machine is a huge magnet, measuring 2.4m by 2.1m and weighing 7 tonnes. A 3T scanner, engineered by GE Healthcare, creates high-quality, cross-sectional images including three-dimensional representations.
The new suite is delivering many benefits for patients and clinicians. The process is more comfortable for patients in several ways. Patients who are claustrophobic can be placed in the scanner feet first. Images can be produced by using a blanket that wraps around the patient instead of fixed coils.
Before the MRI suite opened in late 2019, West Moreton Health’s Medical Imaging Department only performed computerised tomography (CT) scanning. This meant about 50 patients a week needed to travel beyond Ipswich Hospital for MRI scans.
Now West Moreton residents can have complex scans done closer to home.
West Moreton Health’s existing mental health unit provides community and acute mental health services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Built in the late 1990s, the unit no longer reflects best practice for delivering these services.
The new 50-bed unit, which provides 6 additional beds, will offer the best available mental health care and assessment, recovery and rehabilitation services for adults, including older people. It will include a triage point and an assessment area, two 14-bed wards for acute adult inpatients, one 14-bed ward for older people and an eight-bed high-dependency ward.
Designed to reflect a residential environment, this purpose-built unit will give patients access to internal courtyards, gardens and outdoor areas, and multiple barbecue areas for families, supporting best-practice service delivery and person-centred care. We partnered with health consumers, carers and expert clinicians to ensure the unit provides a safe space to improve wellbeing.
The unit will present as four storeys from Chelmsford and Kallara avenues and three storeys from Walker Street. The ground level will be designated parking for deliveries and staff. Levels 1 and 2 will be clinical floors. On Level 3, an enclosed bridge will link the new unit with level 6 of the Ipswich Hospital for the safe movement of consumers, staff and deliveries. The new bridge will be the same height as the existing link from the Ipswich Hospital multi-storey carpark to the Chelmsford Avenue entrance of the current unit.
Project team and timeline
In early 2020, Aurecon was appointed as the project administrator and Hassell as the project architect. These companies join West Moreton Health and the Department of Health on the project team for the Acute Mental Health Unit.
Hutchinson Builders was appointed as the early works contractor in June 2020. Early works refers to the first stage of construction and included the demolition and removal of seven residences, the clearing and levelling of the site, and the removal or relocation of existing services such as sewerage lines.
Fencing went up around the site and work began in July 2020. Residences were removed in August and early works are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
The main works – the construction of the new unit – will begin in early 2021 and is expected to be completed by late 2022.
Once the new 50-bed Acute Mental Health Unit is opened and operational, the current 44-bed facility at Ipswich Hospital will be demolished. This land will be held in reserve for future development if funding becomes available.
West Moreton Health aims to be a good neighbour as we build this new facility and deliver our Master Plan. We know construction will cause disruption to neighbours of Ipswich Hospital and we will do all we can to minimise impact. We meet regularly with affected residents to ensure they are informed about the project, can provide input on design elements and can give us feedback as the work proceeds.
To date, many of the questions from residents relate to how construction works will affect them, their home or business. Where possible, we have integrated this feedback into the detailed design to ensure a facility that meets both the needs of the health service and expectations of the neighbourhood. Working together like this means we can find the best possible solutions for all.
What will be built?
The new 50-bed unit will provide the best available mental health care and assessment, recovery and rehabilitation services for adults, including older people.
The unit is designed to reflect a residential environment to provide consumers access to internal courtyards, gardens and outdoor areas, and multiple barbecue areas for families.
Where will it be built?
This new unit will be located across the road from the Ipswich Hospital and the current acute mental health unit. The new unit will present as four storeys from Chelmsford and Kallara Avenues and three storeys from Walker Street.
Levels 1 and 2 will be clinical floors. On Level 3, an enclosed bridge will link the new unit with level 6 of the Ipswich Hospital for the safe movement of consumers, staff and deliveries.
Who will be treated in the facility?
Existing consumers will be treated at the new unit, with current staff transitioning to the new site. Most acute mental health consumers arrive at Ipswich Hospital via the emergency department. Once this unit is built, consumers will move to the new unit via an enclosed overhead bridge. The existing unit will continue to operate until the new facility is completed.
How high will the link bridge be?
The new link bridge will be the same height as the existing link from the Ipswich Hospital multi-storey carpark to the Chelmsford Avenue entrance of the current unit.
Will additional car parks be created to cater for the extra staff and deliveries?
Designated short-term car parking will be available on the ground level of the unit for deliveries and staff.
What will happen to the current unit?
Once the new unit is opened and operational, staff and consumers at the current unit will transition to the new site. The current 44-bed unit at Ipswich Hospital will then be demolished. This land will be held in reserve for future development if funding becomes available.
What services will the new facility provide?
Like the existing facility, the new facility will provide assessment, recovery and rehabilitation services for adults, including older persons.
Could an acute mental health facility pose a danger to neighbouring residents?
The existing Acute Mental Health Unit on Chelmsford Avenue has operated for more than 20 years with minimal disruption to neighbours.
How is the community being consulted?
Since the announcement of the proposal, West Moreton Health has been communicating with neighbouring residents through several channels including letters, brochures, emails, phone calls, face-to-face and group meetings.
The Denmark Hill Residents’ Group has help meetings since late 2019 so that neighbours of the hospital can learn about the project and discuss how it will affect them.
So far, many of the questions from residents relate to how construction works will affect them, their home or business. This includes discussion around fencing, lighting, parking, footpaths and noise concerns.
What support is offered to affected residents?
West Moreton Health understands that residents closest to the construction zone will be impacted by construction and will have questions and concerns. The project team are delivering the construction with consideration of the mixed residential and commercial nature of the area.
West Moreton Health wants to be a good neighbour. We will continue to work with affected residents, businesses and the wider community to make sure the unit is built and operated with feedback in mind.
Can the community provide feedback in the design of the facility?
The facility has been designed in collaboration with the community, past consumers of our mental health services and carer representatives. Elements of the design have been shown to the nearby residents to give them an understanding of the project’s constraints and opportunities.
Where will the entrances and exits be for this unit?
The entry and exit points for vehicles for the unit is off Kallara Avenue, to make sure emergency service vehicles are not blocked by turning traffic or congestion on Chelmsford Avenue.
What to expect during construction?
Construction of the facility is expected to begin in 2021 and continue for two years until late 2022.
Once the new unit is occupied, the current unit will be demolished and the land used for future West Moreton Health development opportunities.
This ward will be the first new ward at Ipswich Hospital for six years, built on Level 6 in Ward Block.
It will include:
- a 26-bed ward for in-patients
- early pregnancy assessment services
- patient care centre with a treatment room, patient lounge and transit lounge
- staff facilities and workspaces
As part of this project, Levels 6 and 7 of the Ward Block will also be refurbished.
This work will provide space for:
- allied health consulting and treatment
- oncology and day infusions treatment
- audiology services
- a hand clinic
- flexible outpatient consultation and
- staff facilities and workspaces
Work has now begun (October 2020) and is expected to be completed in 2021. Building contractors Paynters has established a temporary site office on the Ipswich Hospital grounds to minimise disruption for road users on Chelmsford Avenue and reduce overlap between this project and the construction of the Acute Mental Health Unit.
Ipswich Hospital will remain fully functional throughout the construction period. Some services may need to be temporarily relocated to enable the works. We will advise staff and consumers of any changes in advance so that services continue to run smoothly, and we will post signs throughout the hospital to help consumers and visitors find their way. We will also provide consumers with information about any changes when appointments are confirmed.
West Moreton Health is committed to engaging with people and businesses affected by or interested in the design and delivery of our health care services. Join a community reference group or register an expression of interest as a consumer representative here.
Working on building projects that are a necessity for our communities is never easy but working together allows for the best possible solution. We may not have answers to all your questions, but we will give as much information as we can, as soon as possible.
West Moreton Health meets regularly with affected residents. To attend a meeting, ask a question or give feedback, email WMCommunications@health.qld.gov.au, phone (07) 3810 1111 or write to Master Plan Director Russel Sheppard, West Moreton Health, PO Box 73, Ipswich QLD 4305.
1 April 2019: Changing face of our healthcare system with expected boom – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 21 February 2019: Shadow Health Minister: Ipswich Hospital in 'crisis' – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 13 May 2018: Negotiations under way for sale of council buildings – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 15 March 2018: Hospital expansion good news for Ipswich residents – Ipswich First
- 12 March 2018: CONFIRMED: Ipswich Hospital will undergo massive expansion – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 9 November 2017: Labor's Ipswich Hospital upgrade is unfunded, unplanned: LNP – The Queensland Times
- 8 November 2017: Ipswich Hospital promised $124 million funding boost – The Queensland Times
- 24 June 2017: Expansion plan, better use of space to boost bed numbers – The Queensland Times
- 15 June 2017: Budget reveals major expansion to hospital – The Queensland Times
- 18 December 2019: MRI machine saves 50 patients trips to Brisbane for scans – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 12 November 2019: A life-saving piece of equipment has arrived at the Ipswich Hospital – Ipswich First
- 9 November 2019: Critical equipment hits Ipswich Hospital's suite spot (Media statement)
- 29 July 2019: Works commence on Ipswich Hospital MRI installation (Media statement)
- 5 February 2019: Way cleared for life-saving scans at Ipswich Hospital – Ipswich First
- 3 January 2019: Licence tick opens door for hospital MRI scans – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
Acute Mental Health Unit
- 28 June 2020: Project manager and architect appointed for new Acute Mental Health Unit (Media statement)
- 26 October 2019: 500 workers will construct hospital redevelopment – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 30 August 2019: When new $100M mental health facility will open – The Queensland Times (subscription only)
- 13 March 2018: New mental health facility centrepiece of hospital expansion – The Queensland Times
- 29 March 2020: More beds at Ipswich Hospital (Media statement)
Ipswich Health Precinct
West Moreton Health has received funding for a range of infrastructure projects that consider the sustainability of providing healthcare to a growing population. We are dedicated to developing health precincts that bring people and health care closer together, using technology and innovation to provide services more efficiently and sustainably.
Since 2015, the following projects have been undertaken:
- Ipswich Hospital Redesign: Integrated Mental Health Unit, High Dependency Unit ($1,812,348) completed July 2017
- Boonah Hospital replacement air conditioning ($805,840), completed June 2018
- Ipswich CSSD Upgrade ($1,472,491), completed January 2019
- Ipswich Hospital lifts and car park life cycle replacement ($952,657), completed June 2019
- Esk Hospital and Laidley Hospital Fire System Upgrade ($2,307,298), completed March 2020
- Ipswich Hospital Ward Block Switchboard Replacement ($999,159)
- Ipswich Hospital Tower Block Theatre Pre-Conditioner - Planning Budget ($150,000)
- The Park Nurse Call and Duress System Replacement ($1,373,845)
- Ipswich Hospital Tower Block Chiller 1, 2 and 3 ($2,323,000)
- Ipswich Hospital Expansion Stage 1A - Magnetic Resonance Imaging Detailed Business Case and 26 Bed Ward Refurbishment ($36,321,000)
- Ipswich Hospital and The Park security works project - Planning Budget ($150,000)
- Ipswich Hospital Expansion Stage 1A - Mental Health Unit, Link Bridge ($91,179,000)