Public services are lost one at a time, often incrementally.
Take the Shelburne Hospital. Once a partner site of Headwaters Health Care, services were removed from the community one-by-one until eventually the entire hospital closed with barely any protest.
The Ministry of Health prefers to place health services into community-based settings, but the sector is notoriously unstable, often reliant on volunteer donations to make up a percentage of operating costs. When those volunteer donations dry up, many small agencies shutter their facilities before the LHINs can even assess the impact on access to local health services.
Two Toronto artists who call themselves the “Department of Public Memory” are commemorating public services lost in their municipality. That includes placing signs around the city reminding residents of what was once there.
It’s a brilliant idea to illustrate how our city is changing and who is being left out in the process. Their latest project is one such small but valuable health agency that didn’t succeed.