An interesting side story has developed from this initial report about the Ontario government announcing funding for hospitals across the province.
The Ministry of Health recently announced they were spending $175 million for 128 hospitals across the province to upgrade, repair and maintain their facilities, through the Health Infrastructure Renewal Fund.
Under this program, hospitals may receive a grant for eligible projects, regardless of their own ability to raise a local share of the project costs. There is no cost-sharing requirement, and 100 per cent of the grant may be used on a single project. Hospitals may select projects based on their own priorities, subject to the program eligibility criteria.
There have been previous announcements on funding in hospitals in Niagara Region and in Burlington ($65 million for the redevelopment of the Joseph Brant Hospital), but nothing that had been announced for Brampton. For the past several years, Brampton has been dealing with the issue of “hallway medicine.”
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Inbrampton.com reached out to all five of Brampton’s MPPs (New Democrats and Progressive Conservatives) to see if any of the city’s healthcare facilities were getting money through the HIRF. We got a response from the legislative assistant to PC MPP Amarjot Sandhu (Brampton West).
“I can confirm William Osler Health System received $1,493,004 in funding. They have three sites at Brampton Civic, Etobicoke General and Peel Memorial,” their email said.
“The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care has sent the official funding letters to these hospitals, who will be allocating the funding between hospital sites for the specific upgrades/repairs/maintenance project(s) in the coming months.”
Our initial story highlighted the close to $1.5 million funding for William Osler Health System, but it seems there’s been some miscommunication or the MPP’s office did not do a proper job in articulating the government’s position when it came to my question.
Cara Francis, the Director of Public Relations for William Osler, contacted inbrampton.com after reading the first article and said, “The funding referenced in the article (HIRF) is not applicable for Brampton hospitals, and is only directed toward Osler’s Etobicoke General Hospital as a non-P3 facility.”
When asked to confirm if the $1.5 million allocated to William Osler was for Etobicoke General Hospital only and not the Brampton facilities, Phillips said “the funding was allocated to Etobicoke General hospital only and not to Brampton Civic Hospital nor Peel Memorial.”
Looking back at the email from MPP Sandhu’s assistant, it’s clear there was some mischaracterization as to whether Brampton’s hospitals and health care facilities were getting any money from the HIRF. He said “William Osler received $1.5 million in funding,” then went on to describe that they have the three sites in Brampton and Etobicoke.
That doesn’t actually mean that Brampton’s facilities were getting the funding, but one assumes that when you say William Osler is getting the funding, all the facilities under its umbrella should be receiving the money. Instead, William Osler themselves said it was only for their Etobicoke hospital.
Being ground zero for ‘hallway health care’ and yet being ignored does not bode well for the Ford government’s track record of improving hospital services for Brampton residents.
This begs the question as to whether Brampton will get any money from the provincial government when it comes to health care needs in the near future.