The New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced the addition of 109 forensic mental health beds, as part of the A$700m investment in mental health services.

This addition aims to provide treatment for more individuals with severe mental illnesses.

These forensic mental health units are intended to boost the mental health and justice system, which according to the government, ensures individuals receive thorough mental health care when involved in the criminal justice system due to their ill health.

Currently, there are a total of 209 beds in forensic mental health units in the Australian state, and this investment represents a 50% increase to meet the growing demand for mental health care in the criminal justice system.

The latest investment involves the establishment of a new mental health intensive care unit, within the Forensic Hospital at Malabar (Freshwater Unit); and further low-secure and medium-secure forensic beds within the mental health precinct at Concord Hospital.

It also includes relocating the Cumberland Bunya Medium Secure Forensic unit to Blacktown Hospital and the Morisset Kestrel Medium Secure Forensic unit to the New Maitland Hospital besides the addition of new low-secure forensic beds.

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The adult acute and older persons services provided at Morisset will also be relocated to the New Maitland Hospital.

These new beds at Concord, Freshwater, Blacktown, and Maitland will be delivered over the next four years.

MSW Minister for Mental Health Rose Jackson said: “The care provided in our forensic mental health units is vital in reducing the risk of repeat offending resulting from untreated mental illness and improves the safety of NSW communities.

“This investment will help to address state-wide gaps in in-patient forensic services so that people get the right care, at the right time, in the least restrictive environment.

“We’re increasing the number of beds available in low-, medium- and high-security facilities to ensure we can meet patients where they’re at and support their pathway to recovery.

“Our goal is to put people back on their feet and in the right head space so they can recover and transition back into the community to live meaningful, purposeful lives.”

This latest announcement comes after an ambulance station opened in Tumut, NSW, in June this year to help paramedics carry out their work more efficiently.

In August, a new BreastScreen NSW clinic was inaugurated in North Ryde, NSW, offering women in the Ryde community with access to breast cancer screening services.