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Ashburn Clinic is home to a range of public and private patients with mental health, addiction and eating challenges, and its residents and staff gathered yesterday for the opening of the new wing by Minister of Health Andrew Little.
Residents spoke movingly at the opening of the unit, named after Ashburn’s matron from 1947-72, about how the clinic had changed their lives.
One said she had all but run out of hope when she came to the clinic 19 months ago.
"Ashburn felt like the last chance for me to have a life ... for the first time time I genuinely feel safe and comfortable to be myself."
Ashburn director of nursing and allied health Monique Lammers said staff and patients were involved with the design.
"We really wanted our people here to feel good about this environment and I think that is what this building has done."
The $4 million unit is part of an $8 million revamp of the clinic’s facilities.
Mr Little thanked Dunedin MP and former health minister David Clark, who had commissioned a report into mental health and addiction services and obtained a substantial funding boost for the sector.
Director-general of health Ashley Bloomfield also attended the opening, and planted a tree in Ashburn’s gardens to mark the event.