Is Brampton's new hospital just an upgrade to an old one?
Ontario's government has confirmed Brampton will be getting its long awaited second hospital on the grounds of the city's old hospital.
Provincial Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced the hospital upgrade is in the plans for government funding as part of his sweeping 2021 budget package.
The plan calls for a new wing at the site of old Peel Memorial Hospital on Lynch St. that will support around-the-clock medical care including an emergency department. The building is now known as Peel Memorial Centre and serves as a long-term facility for those with chronic illness as well as an urgent care centre. It opened in 2017 following the demolition of the old hospital.
It has not been revealed when the upgrades will begin.
"Today I am proud to announce the hospital expansion and construction of a new wing at the William Osler Health System in Brampton," said Bethlenfalvy. "It's a priority for the constituency, a priority for patients, and a priority for our government."
While some are greeting the news as the answer to Brampton's need for a second hospital, others feel it falls short of community expectations.
"We just got Doug Ford's 2021 budget and I'm honestly shocked," said the NDP's Gurratan Singh, MPP for Brampton East. "No new hospital for Brampton, not even a new emergency room for Peel Memorial, not even a mention of the new hospital we need. Doug Ford has made it official: He doesn't care about Brampton. Period."
Still, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown appeared elated with the news when he released a statement.
"I can't tell you how happy I am today that we finally got this provincial commitment,' said Brown who said the new addition will have an emergency department, contradicting Singh's comment. "I want to thank the provincial government for today's budget which finally commits to a new hospital being built in Brampton. This push for a second hospital has been 15 years in the making and it is overdue. We're finally going to see a second hospital for Brampton with phase 2 of Peel Memorial."
The need for an additional hospital has been at the top of Brampton's wish list for years as the growth of the city and surrounding areas have pushed services at Brampton Civic Hospital to the limit and beyond once the pandemic struck.
Going by provincial guidelines, Brampton residents are currently getting half the hospital care for patients than the provincial average.
Although just built in 2007, Brampton Civic largely replaced old Peel Memorial Hospital so many Brampton residents have long felt that even though they got a newer hospital, they never received an additional one. Time will tell if what Queen's Park is promising will answer Brampton's long-term medical needs.
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