First look at new acute mental health facilities for Cairns


13 March 2020

The look of a brand new, state of the art mental health facility for Cairns has been unveiled today after Member for Cairns Michael Healy and Health Minister Steven Miles released the artist impressions ahead of construction starting this year.

Mr Healy said it was a first look at the designs for the new $70 million multi-storey mental health unit at the Cairns Hospital which would provide a massive boost to health care in far north Queensland.

“This is what the Palaszczuk Government is all about, delivering more and better health services for the people of Cairns and Far North Queensland, while also supporting the local economy.

“This project will support 67 construction jobs while it is being built, not to mention the doctors, nurses and staff the hospital will hire to operate the facility when it’s completed.

“The unit has been custom designed to provide a positive therapeutic environment to help acute mental health patients recover,” Mr Healy said.

“Patient bedrooms will be located on the outside perimeter of the building so they can enjoy the views, and plenty of natural light.”


Mr Miles said the new facility was designed in consultation with patients and their families to make sure it catered to their needs.

“The key design principles have included developing a healing environment that is sustainable, culturally appropriate, enabled with Wi Fi technology and safe for staff, consumers and families,” Mr Miles said.

“Clinicians, architects, engineers, consumer representatives and health facility planners have been working throughout 2019 to develop the designs for the mental health unit and I am so pleased to share them with the community today.

“The artist impressions, created by architects Thomson Adsett, have evolved as part of a consultative design process, with a range of stakeholders including community and carer groups,” Mr Miles said.

The new mental health unit will interface with the existing Block A building on the Cairns Hospital grounds, with the entrance on the corner of Kerwin and Lake Streets.

The demolition of the existing acute mental health unit on the hospital site will start in the first half of this year.

Tina Chinery, Executive Director, Cairns Services, said upgrades to Block D have enabled the relocation of patients in the existing facility prior to demolition.

“Work was completed in January on a fit-out of a vacant space in Block D at the Cairns Hospital to enable to relocation of patients so the old mental health could be vacated and demolished,” Ms Chinery said.

“The interim mental health ward at the Cairns Hospital provides acute adult mental health beds, treatment rooms, therapeutic safe spaces and quiet rooms, as well as family, lounge and dining areas.”

Mental Health Clinical Director, Dr Mike Tervit said the feedback from consumers and staff who have visited the new ward has been overwhelmingly positive.

“The features of the interim unit include wall-size photos of recognisable local scenery and a sensory modulation space to create an ambient environment for consumers,” Dr Tervit said.

“The new ward began operation this month, and it has been well received by staff, consumers and the Health Service.”

“We are using the interim mental health ward to test some of the new features we have planned for the new building, such as lockable mobile phone charging stations.

For more details on the mental health unit redevelopment, please visit the web page:




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