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

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

WATCH: North Okanagan seniors stay fit in self-isolation

Residents have taken to their balconies to follow along in exercise class

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Paddling through life

Pehowich is a mother, business owner, basketball coach and paddleboarder

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

Most Read