A hospital worker in Metro Vancouver is losing approximately $ 1.5 million in annual funding after refusing to provide patients with access to medical-assisted deaths.
Every hospice in British Columbia that receives more than half of its funding from the government is required to provide assisted death service for patients who request it, but the Delta Hospice Society has carved its heels, claiming that doing so would be contrary to its principles. .
This stalemate led to an ultimatum by the Fraser Health Authority late last year and on Tuesday the provincial government announced plans to terminate the contract with the hospital operator.
“We have done everything we can to support the board of directors in respect and have made it clear that they have no intention of doing so,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a statement.
“We are taking this action reluctantly and when the role of the Delta Hospice Society ends, patients in publicly funded hospital care will be able to access their medical rights again.”
The government said funding for the company would run out on February 25, 2021, which gives the operator the 365-day notice necessary to end his “no reason” deal.
The company operates a small 10-bed facility called Irene Thomas Hospice on a parcel of land in the Delta owned by Fraser Health. The government has promised that the health authority will continue to ensure that local residents “continue to have access to those beds” after the company’s contract has expired.
“We will ensure that hospital care services remain in the Delta. To this end, we could restore Irene Thomas Hospice’s current public management site,” said Dix. “Alternatively, we could pursue another Delta site. In both scenarios, the 10 hospice beds represented by the existing facility will remain in the Delta.”
CTV News contacted the Delta Hospice Society board on Tuesday, but received no response.
Earlier this year, the president of the board of directors, Angelina Ireland, said that the assisted death offer goes against the standard of palliative care for operators, a service that focuses on making people as close to at ease while facing potentially lethal diseases.
“We have a statute and it says that we do not rush death,” said Ireland. “We are a palliative care organization and do everything we can to improve the time the person has left.”
While some opposition to medical assisted death has come from religious organizations, the objections of the Delta Hospice Society are not based on faith.
According to the government, over 3,000 British Colombians have had access to medical care to die in the past three years.
With files from CTV News’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and Jackie Dunham from CTVNews.ca and Cillian O’Brien