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Delta hospice loses funding over refusal to provide medically assisted dying

Last Updated Feb 25, 2020 at 9:33 pm PDT

FILE - Health Minister Adrian Dix Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 (Liza Yuzda, NEWS 1130 photo)

Delta Hospice Society refused to g to follow provincial policy on medically assited dying

Fraser Health will discontinue funding to the Delta Hospice Society on Feb. 25, 2021

Delta South MLA Ian Payton doesn't like the move

DELTA (NEWS 1130) – A Delta hospice that declared it wouldn’t provide medically assisted dying will lose provincial funding in a year.

Fraser Health will discontinue funding to the Delta Hospice Society on Feb. 25, 2021 for refusing to follow the provincial policy on medically assisted dying.

The contract provides $1.5 million annually to operate 10 beds at Irene Thomas Hospice, which is on land owned by Fraser Health.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Tuesday that every effort was made to get the board to comply with the law, but it refused.

“We are taking this action reluctantly, and when the role of the Delta Hospice Society concludes, patients in publicly funding hospice care will again be able to fully access their medical rights.”

Patients in publicly-funded hospice care are required to have access to medically assisted dying services, according to federal legislation passed in 2016.

“I strongly support hospice care and we have made important investments to expand it across the province,” Dix added. “We will ensure hospice care services remain in Delta.”

Dix said the province could restore the existing Irene Thomas Hospice site to public management.

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

Putting patients first is what matters most, Dix added.

“Patients make decisions about medical services in consultation with their doctor and their family. No organization can influence this decision or impose it. I respect anyone’s right to disagree, and no one has ever required hospice staff to deliver medical assistance in dying, but they must allow eligible residents who want the service to access it.”

Delta South MLA Ian Paton doesn’t like the move.

“What I see is the government literally stealing assets from the people of Delta who worked so hard for so many years to raise eight and an half million dollars for this facility, and it looks like a year from the now the government will be taking over the building and the assets,” he said.

In the last three years, the province said, more than 3,000 British Columbians made the choice to have medical assistance in dying – the majority of those choosing to do so at home, often a long-term care facility or a hospice.