The federal government legalized medical assistance in dying in 2016. (Needpix.com)

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Fraser Health has given a year’s notice that it will terminate its contract with Delta Hospice Society for refusing to provide medical assistance in dying.

The latest federal legislation and court rulings mean anyone is entitled to have their doctor attend at a facility such as the Irene Thomas Hospice, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday. The hospice is located on Fraser Health property, rented to the society for $1 a year.

“We have made every effort to support the board to come into compliance and they have been clear that they have no intention to,” Dix said. “We are taking this action reluctantly, and when the role of the Delta Hospice Society concludes, patients in publicly funded hospice care will again be able to fully access their medical rights.”

Dix said most of the 3,000 B.C. residents who have used assisted dying since federal law changed in 2016 have done so at home. But home for many elderly people is a care facility and they have the same rights, he said.

RELATED: Residents pack Chilliwack forum to protest hospice change

RELATED: Langley MP takes on federal assisted dying regulations

Faith-based hospice societies remain exempt from the requirement to deliver medical assistance in dying, including St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, Dix said. But they have an obligation to refer people to a facility that offers it if they want.

Delta South B.C. Liberal MLA Ian Paton accused the province of “swooping in” to take the assets of the hospice society. Paton would not say if he supports the decision to provide medically assisted dying, a policy put in place by former B.C. Liberal health minister Terry Lake.

Dix said he is considering retaining the 10-bed Irene Thomas Hospice under a new operator.

“Given the significant financial contributions Delta community members made to build the facility, this would be the most desirable option,” Dix said. “Alternatively, we could pursue another Delta site. In either scenario, the 10 hospice beds represented by the existing facility will stay in Delta.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

FVRL launches online library cards

FVRL’s services have evolved

Man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife but is quickly arrested by Abbotsford police

Abbotsford grandma gets surprise birthday parade

Ellenor McClelland receives drive-by wishes from friends and family

Abbotsford runners competing in Quarantine Backyard Ultra race

Over 1,500 racers from 40 countries participating in unique long distance running event

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read