PM says $30m mental health facility upgrade transformative

Jacinda Ardern says she is often told the work of health staff job is made harder because of the rundown state of the facilities. - Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the upgrade to Palmerston North's acute mental health facility will change the prison-like feel of the premises.

The Government has today announced at Palmerston North Hospital that MidCentral District Health Board will receive $30 million to upgrade its acute mental health facility.

The business case for the upgrade is expected to be completed in 2020.

From there it will go to tender, with construction expecting to take another two-and-a-half years.

It follows earlier announcements in the Waikato and Tairawhiti earlier this year.

Jacinda Ardern said the Palmerston North's current acute mental health facility was first opened 20 years ago.

"When you visit the facility as it is, it does have almost a clinical, prison-like feel to it, now modern facilities are being built with open spaces, natural light, access to outdoor areas, family and whanau spaces," she said.

"At the moment the family space is specifically the end of the corridor, a dead end and an afterthought."

Ms Ardern said she was always impressed with the professionalism of staff at mental health services, but she was often told their job was made harder because of the rundown state of the facilities.

She said Mental Health Facilities should be a priority.