Andrew Wallace/Torstar News Service


A person enters the recently opened Brampton Civic Hospital in this file photo.

Open barely a month, Brampton Civic Hospital has become a lightning rod for opposition to so-called P3 projects, following a death the outraged local Punjabi community is blaming on understaffing at the $550-million facility.

Controversy over the public-private partnership that built the hospital has reached such a pitch that officials called a meeting last night with community leaders and media to air concerns. Both sides in the fracas — the province, developer and hospital, up against the unions, NDP and the Ontario Health Coalition — accuse the other of misleading the public.

Patients are complaining of agonizing waits as the state-of-the-art facility struggles to cope with unfilled positions and a 20 per cent rise in emergency patients compared with the hospital it replaced, Peel Memorial. Added to that is resentment about the $230 million the community was expected to contribute as its share, nearly half of which is still to be raised.

public furor

  • The issue came to a boil when Brampton’s large Punjabi community, which raised millions for the hospital, went ballistic over the death of 52-year-old Harnek Sidhu. Sidhu’s family, who had contributed $25,000 to the new hospital, believed he couldn’t be in better hands when he went to emergency with stomach pains. It took 12 hours before he was assigned a bed, according to his family. Ten days later, he died of pancreatitis.