iMH opens second mental health hospital

The $6.4 million transformation of Hirondelle Private Hospital into a 45-bed mental health facility with an innovative model of care incorporating in-patient and out-patient services was officially launched today by New South Wales Minister for Mental Health, The Honourable Rose Jackson.

The hospital is the second to open under the iMH joint venture between mental health provider Aurora Healthcare and Medibank's health service delivery company, Amplar Health, after Deakin Private Hospital opened in Canberra in March last year (2023).

Hirondelle Private Hospital provides care for mental health patients in an integrated setting – leveraging both hospital and community services, aiming to reduce readmission and give patients more choice, value and control.

The model will focus on continuity of care through diverse pathways that accommodate inpatient, day attendance, community-based and in-home treatment, providing critical services for the community.


iMH CEO Joanne Levin said many patients who were admitted to a mental health hospital required readmission. She said the iMH model aimed to provide alternatives to overnight hospitalisation, where clinically appropriate.

“This new model of care integrates hospital and community care, providing greater choice for psychiatrists and patients as to how they continue their treatment post-discharge and supporting them to recover in the comfort of their own home,” she said.

“This ongoing care will focus on recovery and relapse prevention while assisting in the early detection of clinical deterioration to reduce readmissions.

“These services are not typically included under a traditional psychiatric model of care in the private system, and iMH hospitals offer them with no additional costs for eligible patients, apart from any excess or co-payment that would normally apply.”

Hirondelle Private Hospital has been redeveloped from a rehabilitation centre to a specialist, mental health facility with 45 private rooms with ensuites, group therapy rooms, gymnasium, two Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation suites and onsite private practice for hospital accredited psychiatrists.

The facility was originally a six-bed hospital opened in 1960 by Sydney Keen – the grandfather of the hospital’s now-CEO, Laura Barnett-Moran. More recently, the hospital was run by Mrs Barnett-Moran’s father, Timothy Keen who turned it into a 53-bed general medical and rehabilitation hospital.

It was Mrs Barnett-Moran's idea to transform the hospital into a mental health facility and she has spearheaded the redevelopment.

“I am proud to continue my family’s long history of delivering quality healthcare to the people of Sydney’s North Shore and beyond,” she said. “Hirondelle holds a special place in my own heart, but also in the hearts of the local community it has served for almost seven decades. 

During the redevelopment we have had many visitors share stories, give us their blessing and thank us for keeping the tradition of Hirondelle alive – a tradition centred around community, which is why it aligns perfectly with the iMH model of care."

Mrs Barnett-Moran said she’d witnessed first-hand the profound impact of mental health on individuals and their loved ones.

“I’ve come to appreciate the significance of supporting people through all stages of their mental health journey – not just in times of crisis, when some may need a hospital bed,” she said.

“Trusted, ongoing support is critical to positive, long-term outcomes yet it is rarely facilitated under the traditional model of mental health care in Australia.

“We need to transform the way mental health care is delivered because our people and our communities deserve better, and we are proud to be leading this change at Hirondelle Private Hospital.”

The redeveloped Hirondelle Private opened to patients in January (2024). The iMH joint venture is now providing 97 private mental health beds across New South Wales and the ACT.


Originally published on: iMH opens second mental health hospital | Medibank Newsroom


Alice Ross, External Affairs Manager