Ontario budget includes new inpatient hospital wing in Brampton, expansion planning for region

WATCH ABOVE: Ontario has revealed the second budget of the COVID-19 era and it lays out the cost for overcoming the pandemic and getting the economy going again. Travis Dhanraj reports.

The Ontario government has announced a new inpatient hospital wing will be built in Brampton in an effort to alleviate severe overcrowding facing the city’s only major hospital.

As part of a $30-billion, 10-year expansion and renovation plan for Ontario’s hospitals, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy announced a new wing will be built at the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness near Kennedy Road South and Queen Street East.

In a speech to the legislature, he billed the announcement as a “historic and overdue investment” for Peel Region.

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Peel Memorial Centre, which opened in 2017, currently offers outpatient services and day surgeries only.

Bethlenfalvy also said the government is working with Trillium Health Partners and William Osler Health System on expansion projects in Mississauga and Etobicoke.

Global News attempted to ask the government multiple times about how much has specifically been set aside for these initiatives and what exactly will be built, but a response wasn’t received by the time of publication.

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Ontario NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh, who is also the MPP for Brampton Centre, said local residents were hopeful the commitment for a new hospital as well as an expansion of Peel Memorial Centre would be included the budget. However, she called Wednesday’s announcement “disappointing and frankly upsetting.”

“We’re still trying to sort through the details in terms of what that’s actually going to look like, what funding has been allocated, what are the numbers of bed, there’s really no details at this point that we’re able to discern,” Singh said, adding she’s concerned it might be “a bit of a hollow announcement.”

“Not to build another hospital and to just increase capacity — we’re not sure what that looks like yet — isn’t going far enough for our community, so we’re definitely going to keep up that fight.”

She said during the Wynne and Ford government, the NDP has been advocating for a third hospital in Brampton and upgrading Peel Memorial Centre to a full-service, inpatient hospital.

When asked about the budget announcement, Ontario Liberal Party Leader Steven Del Duca praised the general move to invest more money into health care. However, he said the announcement doesn’t go far enough for Brampton.

“I know exactly how hard hit they’ve been on the health care side over the last number of years,” Del Duca said.

“What we need is a brand new, standalone hospital in northwestern Brampton and that is something I’m keen to deliver.”

The news comes more than a year after Brampton city council voted to declare a health-care emergency in the community.

In the January 2020 motion, City of Brampton staff were directed to work with the William Osler Health System and the provincial and federal governments to secure “urgent frontline health-care funding” to Brampton Civic Hospital and the Peel Memorial Centre for Integrated Health and Wellness “to ensure are operating with full staffing and resources in order to provide safe and quality patient care immediately.”

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The motion also directed staff to work with all of the parties to beef up emergency room services, inpatient services, as well as adding additional hospital beds to make sure the total hospital bed count is consistent with the provincial average per capita.

“We have 608 hospital beds in Brampton. To meet the provincial average, we need another 830 beds and there’s no plan for that,” Mayor Patrick Brown said at the time, claiming Brampton is getting approximately half of what other communities are getting for health care.

“ heard from physicians and patients today who are very frustrated with the current government, but it’s not just the current government. Frankly, Liberal and Conservative governments alike have been asleep at the switch over the last two decades in terms of the real needs we have in Brampton.”

Brampton Civic Hospital, which opened in 2007, is home to one of Canada’s busiest emergency rooms and serves as the main full-service hospital for the city’s approximately 650,000 residents.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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