2 September 2022

New private mental health hospital set to open in January

| Ian Bushnell
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Deakin Private Hospital

The Deakin Health Hub, which will house the Deakin Private Hospital, takes shape. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The first stage of a new private mental health hospital that will offer the first young adults ward in the city will open in January, adding much-needed services to Canberra’s stretched health system.

The $27 million Deakin Private Hospital under construction on the corner of Denison and Strickland Streets is approaching completion, according to its operator Aurora Healthcare, which operates 1000 mental health beds across NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

It will be the city’s first private mental health facility featuring beds for young adults aged 16 and over, and be a fully-integrated inpatient, day patient and outpatient mental health hospital that is intended to serve the region.

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Co-located with the Deakin Health Hub adjacent to the John James Memorial Hospital Campus, stage 1 will have 52 beds, group therapy rooms and doctors’ consulting suites, while stage 2 is expected to expand the hospital to more than 80 beds.

Aurora says the new facility will be a fully-integrated inpatient, day patient and outpatient mental health hospital.

At present, Canberra does not have a dedicated adolescent mental health ward. One was due to open in the Canberra Women’s and Children’s Hospital but has been pushed back to mid-2023.

Aurora has already begun the challenging job of recruitment with the first appointments for key executive, clinical and operational roles expected in the coming weeks to support final preparations for the hospital’s opening.

Deakin Health Hub

An artist’s impression of the Deakin Health Hub, which will also offer consulting rooms. Photo: Deakin Health Hub.

Australian CEO of Aurora Healthcare, Julia Strickland-Bellamy said the design and facilities would raise the bar for mental health hospitals, nationwide.

“Deakin Private Hospital is purpose-designed with features and facilities to connect with both young adults and adults, providing a safe, and comfortable environment for our patients to receive essential medical and therapeutic care,” she said.

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Its young adult service would be modelled on Aurora’s successful The Hills Clinic in Sydney.

Ms Strickland-Bellamy expected Deakin Private Hospital would help to alleviate the pressure on the ACT’s health system by providing expanded critical capacity, specifically with inpatient services and supported by complementary services including day programs, an outpatient clinic and community-based support services.

“We identified the shortfall in mental health services well before COVID-19, and the sustained impacts on the community, making delivering this service more important than ever,” she said.

“We want to destigmatise mental illness by delivering a comprehensive service that fosters safety, comfort and accessible evidence-based treatment.”

Aurora’s facilities were designed specifically to assist in the healing process, Ms Strickland-Bellamy said.

“We look at how patients will feel in the space, how they interact with the building and surrounds, how the building helps them interact with the environment in addition to the medically-led treatment and therapy provided by our expert clinicians,” she said.

“Our focus is on promoting opportunities for both interaction and independence, with flexible spaces that provide comfort and familiarity to transitional back to home and in the community.”

In coming months, Aurora will hold information session for staff, doctors and the community ahead of the hospital opening in January.

The Deakin Health Hub will also be a 1000 square metre medical consulting facility offering premium commercial accommodation to clinicians.

Aurora partnered with Barwon Investment Partners to develop the hospital.

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I agree public facilities need to increase but both Fed & ACt recently announced hige mental healthcare investments i. The ACT through bilateral agreements – perhaps thise knocking this on that basis need to read past RiotACt columns re those announcements – & where there are people paying private health regardless of their circumstances so that they & their families can have psychiatric cover in private facilities there will always be private facilities as their preference to public. I know I have to go to a private clinic interstate every year for my condition and I have to pay for private cover despite my income, because there are no public facilities available in the ACT to treat my condition.

Someonesmother9:55 pm 03 Sep 22

US style health services where only those who can afford it will receive the help. Great. Can’t see many youth being able to afford that. We need publicly funded mental health services now.

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