Response to Windsor Star Column October 14, 2018

RE: Jarvis: The hospital and the election

One cannot engage in a discussion of the mega-hospital site selection without accounting for years of government austerity management – that is, attending to the needs of the investor class rather than the meeting the needs of citizens – that passes for modern politics, and the industrialization model of healthcare.

The industrial model of healthcare involves centralizing hospitals while outsourcing more and more services to private clinics. On top of this, our vaunted public health system has been undercut by successive federal governments while provinces are allowed to defund coverages over time thereby forcing us to pay an increasing number of fees and co-pays.

But crucially to the local debate, the mega hospital site selection is developer driven, not needs driven. The mega hospital site decision is about profit over people and it’s undemocratic. It’s about an entrenched local elite using hospital development as a tool to enrich themselves and/or advance careers. They have ensured an ugly ‘us vs. them’ debate pitting Windsor against the county instead of holding meaningful consultations before deciding among themselves an outcome. The game is always the same – someone wins and someone loses.

Downtown Windsor is in desperate need of revitalization and the county needs adequate infrastructure. As other cities know, healthcare infrastructure firmly anchors a city core. Only a truly broad consultation capped by a referendum can identify actual needs. The chaos now evident around the Urgent Care Centre location is proof the whole process is not thought out.

Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) and hospital board positions should be elected by citizens. All of this will require a fully engaged citizenry to counter a fully engaged elite.

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