Ipswich Hospital Acute Mental Health Unit ready for construction

Construction will begin next week on the new $92.4 million Acute Mental Health Unit (AMHU) at the heart of West Moreton Health’s current expansion.

AMHU artist impression Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Yvette D’Ath said construction company BESIX Watpac had been appointed as the main works contractor to build the three-storey mental health unit.

“The Palaszczuk Government has invested more than $146.3 million 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,” Minister D’Ath said.

“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 it was projected that 587,000 people would call West Moreton home in 15 years’ time.

“That’s almost double the region’s current population of 304,000 people,” Mr 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.”

Mr Willis thanked the Queensland Government for its support.

“Redeveloping Ipswich Hospital while continuing to deliver the same level of health service to our community is a complex and rewarding challenge,” Mr Willis said.

“However, it is worth rising to the challenge because this purpose-built facility will make a significant difference to the patients in our care.”

Member for Bundamba Lance McCallum said delivering the Ipswich Health Precinct was a top priority for the Palaszczuk Government.

“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,” Mr McCallum said.

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,” Ms Howard said.

“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 had 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 services,” Ms Mullen said.

“I’m proud that the Palaszczuk Government has made it possible to offer this standard of care to the community.”

When the building is completed by late 2022, hundreds of native trees, shrubs and a bush tucker garden will be planted on site. The unit has been designed with three internal courtyards for consumers and families, as well as natural lighting and lightwells throughout.

Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden welcomed the commencement of construction.

“When staff and consumers transition to the new building, the existing mental health unit at the hospital will be demolished,” he said.

“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 now underway for the next stage in the Master Plan through a $2 million Stage 2 business case to consider the best use of existing facilities and future models of service at Ipswich.

These projects take West Moreton Health closer to its goal of better, evidence-based, person-centred care for the growing, diverse community. 

West Moreton Health is committed to the use of technology and innovation to provide services more efficiently and sustainably. This means doing things differently in the future, including a greater use of virtual healthcare models.

Stage 1 components of the Master Plan include an MRI suite, which was opened at Ipswich Hospital in December 2019, a new 26-bed ward and refurbishments at Ipswich Hospital and the purchase of nearby Ipswich City Council assets for future expansion.

West Moreton Health Master Plan fast facts

The Queensland Government has committed $146.3 million to Stage 1 of the West Moreton Health Master Plan, which will deliver:

  • A $5.2 million Magnetic Resonance Imaging suite, which opened at Ipswich Hospital in December 2019.
  • $92.4 million 50-bed Acute Mental Health Unit which is expected to open in late 2022.
  • $25 million, 26-bed ward and refurbished space for allied health, oncology, and outpatient care at Ipswich Hospital. These new facilities will open in stages with the first of the outpatient spaces opening in April 2021 and the 26-bed ward opening in late 2021. 
  • The purchase of four Ipswich City Council buildings and other land to enable future expansion of the Ipswich Health Precinct. The purchase will settle in September 2021.

West Moreton Health has received $2 million to commence planning for Stage 2 of the Master Plan which includes a business case to consider use of the Ipswich City Council properties.

The Queensland Government has also announced additional funding of $22 million made up of:

  • $1.7 million renal and nephrology services
  • $11 million Ipswich Hospital Emergency Department expansion
  • $9.3 million obstetric theatre

West Moreton Health has a 15-year Master Plan for infrastructure and clinical services which is subject to government approval at each stage, to respond to a predicted doubling in population size by 2036. This plan is being refreshed in 2021.