Is Brampton getting a new hospital? Many are unconvinced
After Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown led cheers to the announcement the city was going to get a new hospital, critics of the news say celebrations need to be tempered following two days of reflection on what exactly the plan calls for.
While most in Brampton were hoping for a new stand-alone facility that would ease the congestion at Brampton Civic Hospital as well as meet future growth needs, instead, many are now complaining that what was promised by Premier Doug Ford's Ontario government in its 2021 budget is just a new addition to the Peel Memorial Centre.
Although the wing will serve to alleviate some of the overcrowding at Brampton Civic, some observers say it is a stop-gap measure that will only offer a temporary solution to a city-wide healthcare crisis that is getting worse each day.
What we know is the "new" hospital will offer around-the-clock in-patient care and be equipped with an emergency department. Reports also indicate Queen's Park has set aside $1.5 million for a proposal plan and that initial estimates call for up to 100 patient beds. After that, not much has been revealed.
"This is really nothing at all," said Jimmy Singh who was one of many who contacted inbrampton.com via to voice displeasure. "We don't know how big it is, how many patients it can handle, when or if it will be built. All we got is a vague plan. It doesn't sound like a new hospital. I saw the video of (mayor) Brown celebrating, but this is no victory for Brampton, it is a major let down."
Members of the medical community have also been speaking out.
"Shameful. Council are blatantly lying to (people) of Brampton. We are NOT getting a new hospital. Brampton simply receiving $1.5M for few beds at existing Peel Urgent Care. They failed us again. They are lying to us," Brampton doctor Kulvinder Kaur wrote via Twitter.
Many of the same sentiments have echoed through social media since the glow surrounding the original announcement has worn off.
"Disappointing that City Councillors would straight up parade (Premier) Doug Ford & minion talking points," wrote the Peel Regional Labour Council on social media. "Money for a plan for a new wing of a hospital is far below what the City of Brampton needs. I hope these City Councillors give their heads a shake and start standing up for Brampton."
Yesterday, Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath got in her licks saying the Conservative government blew it big time and has done a disservice to Brampton.
"The government could have done the right thing and given the people of Brampton true hope that they were going to get the hospital services that they need and have needed for decades," said Horwath standing in front of the grounds of old Peel Memorial Hospital where the new wing is expected to be built. "Unfortunately we didn't see that. No sign at all of a commitment to a brand new hospital in Brampton. It could have happened, but it didn't happen."
Even the City of Brampton took a step back from the original pronouncement that the city is getting a new hospital.
In a news release that came after the mayor's excitement, the City says it "welcomes the announcement from the Provincial government to fund expansion of a new wing" at Peel Memorial Centre. No mention of a new hospital.
Still, in the Ontario legislature, Premier Ford quieted some critics by pointing out his government will deliver to Brampton what previous NDP and Liberal regimes have failed to do.
"This is the most exciting day for the people of Brampton in decades," said Ford. "For 15 years the NDP and the Liberals ignored the people of Brampton. Well I have a message for the people of Brampton. You don't have to worry anymore. You're going to have a 24/7 emergency room. We're going to have a brand new hospital there."
As experts and politicians continue to argue over terminology and what a new hospital actually is, many Brampton residents have been left scratching their heads over what we might see in the future.
As one Twitter user who goes by the handle Minda put it: "I'm confused lol. Is Brampton getting a new hospital or not?”
(Photo: Peel Memorial Centre)
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