The developer behind a plan to build a new $7 million psychiatric care facility in Wagga is awaiting the green light from decision-makers.
The Riverina Clinic proposal seeks approval from Wagga City Council to build a single-storey inpatient psychiatric centre with an attached outpatient clinic on Edward Street, near the intersection of Dobney Avenue.
The development application, lodged by a Canberra-based architecture business, states an intention to provide patients with "true continuity of care" for the first time in the region.
It comes at a time when there is a sudden gap in medical services following the departure of the city's only full-time private psychiatrist.
Wagga is currently home to only one part-time private psychiatrist, who spends part of his time in Canberra, as well as a public psychiatrist who recently finished his training and will work between the Wagga Base Hospital and Community Mental Health Services.
Fly-in-fly-out doctors still provide the majority of Wagga's psychiatric care.
The application stated that outside the public hospital, residents are often required to travel to Albury, Wodonga or Canberra for private mental health services.
The Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network's Anita McRae - who is the senior manager for mental health, drug and alcohol - said any increase in support services was a positive outcome for the city, particularly a service that focuses on providing continuity of care for its patients.
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"If it is hard to access a new service (the patient) might give up because it is too hard," Ms McRae said.
"It's around that idea of when a patient's needs change, the services change with them and there's less chance of having to tell their story again, which is less distressing for people.
"Very importantly, they don't fall through the cracks of different services."
Ms McRae said it is always challenging to have enough mental health services to meet the needs of the community, but it is important the different organisations make proactive steps together to fill the existing gaps.
"It is making that service system coordinated at a local level and working together regardless of where that person enters or exits," she said.
The development application's public exhibition period has closed. The council will now consider any feedback received during the consultation phase before making its final decision.