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‘No More Hallway Healthcare’: Rally calls for more beds and no for-profit patient fees in Brampton

Posted: April 21, 2024

(April 19, 2024) By: Ryan Rumbolt, insauga

Health care watchdogs are calling for hundreds of new hospital beds and a crackdown on patients being charged out-of-pocket fees in Brampton and Caledon.

The plea comes from the Ontario Health Coalition which will be holding a “No More Hallway Healthcare” rally on Monday near Brampton Civic Hospital.

The OHC says the city is desperately lacking health care capacity with just over 600 hospital beds for the more than 800,000 residents of Brampton and Caledon.

And while an additional 250 beds are anticipated to be added with the upgrade of the Peel Memorial Centre, the coalition says Brampton would need to add two more hospitals to align with capacity in other parts of the province.

Monday’s rally has three goals – calling for more hospitals in Brampton, expanded Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage for all Ontario residents and to reverse the “privatization” of health care at for-profit clinics.

The protest will be the group’s second rally raising awareness of health care concerns in Brampton in as many weeks and follows a report on more than 100 patients in Ontario who say they’ve been charged out-of-pocket fees at for-profit clinics.

A survey of 231 Ontario patients found more than half reported being charged out-of-pocket fees for medically necessary services with 120 saying they were illegally billed.

The OHC says the problem has gotten worse since the province passed Bill 60 last year, which allows more private clinics to offer some publicly-funded surgeries and procedures. The province billed the changes as a way to cut long wait lists for care while the OHC says it’s opened up the health care system to more abuse.

Hospital conditions in Brampton have sometimes been referred to as “hallway healthcare” by advocates, a label the province is trying to remove with a billion-dollar overhaul of the Peel Memorial Centre. Mayor Patrick Brown has repeatedly called on the province to greenlight funding for another full service hospital in the city saying the Peel Memorial upgrades are a good step but not a silver bullet to solving Brampton’s health care concerns.

Along with 250 beds, the Peel Memorial plan includes rehabilitation and continuing care services, enhanced mental health and addictions services, and additional services for seniors.

The “No More Hallway Healthcare” rally will be held on Monday near Brampton Civic Hospital from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The OHC will also be holding a rally to call on the province to take action and protect patients from being scammed at private clinics next month. The rally will be held in Toronto on May 30 starting at Nathan Phillips Square before marching up Hospital Row to Queen’s Park.

To help track potential medical fraud at private clinics, the OHC has set up a website for patients to share their experiences. You can share your story with OHC by clicking here.
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