The Delta Hospice Soceity operates the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (James Smith photo)

The Delta Hospice Soceity operates the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (James Smith photo)

Mayor urges province, Fraser Health to protect hospice services in Delta

Letter says current Delta Hospice Society board is “determined to sabotage” hospice services

Delta’s mayor and council are urging the provincial government and Fraser Health Authority to “take all necessary steps” to maintain services at the Irene Thomas Hospice after clinical staff at the facility were served with layoff notices by the Delta Hospice Society board last week.

The layoffs come as the society nears the end of its service contract and lease with Fraser Health due to the board’s refusal to offer medical assistance in dying at the 10-bed facility. The health authority announced last year it would cancel the agreement and lease as of Feb. 25, 2021, pulling $1.5 million in annual funding that had covered most of the hospice’s operating costs.

READ MORE: Layoffs at Delta hospice that refused to offer medical assistance in dying

At Monday’s council meeting, Mayor George Harvie read a letter unanimously endorsed by Delta council to Health Minister Adrian Dix and Fraser Health president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee, urging the province and health authority “to exercise all rights afforded to them under the lease or otherwise to continue high quality palliative and hospice care at this important Delta facility.”

In the letter, Harvie and council “strongly request” that, should the current Delta Hospice Society board cause a disruption in service, the ministry provide interim hospice beds in provincial health-care facilities located in Delta, in order to allow Delta residents to continue to access critical services in their own community.

“This would be a very disruptive time for Delta residents who worked so hard and contributed funding that provided Delta their own community-based hospice facility,” the letter states.

“It is incredibly unfortunate that the current Delta Hospice Society Board is determined to sabotage opportunities for Delta residents to have hospice services in their community. It is vital that steps be taken to ensure that special interest groups do not have the ability to remove beds from our community hospice facility ever again. As such, our community leaders and Delta elected officials are committed to working with your staff on alternatives to the current administrative model.”

In his letter, Harvie also asks Fraser Health to make all efforts possible to rehire hospice staff laid off by the current board, and implores the province and health authority to “take all steps possible to preserve for the benefit of Delta residents all assets and equipment acquired through incredible local fundraising efforts and hundreds of personal donations over many years.”

A press release accompanying the letter states the City of Delta’s position and approach to this issue has been consistent over the past year, adding council has been unanimous in its support for the city’s efforts to ensure the long-term continuity of vital palliative and hospice care in the community.

“I am committed to working with the minister of health and the Fraser Health Authority to ensure Delta residents have fair and equal access to palliative and hospice care in our community,” Harvie said in a press release.

“We are also encouraging Delta residents to continue their effective involvement in this important issue by becoming members of the Hospice Society and by sharing their concerns with the minister of health.”

RELATED: Court affirms order Delta Hospice Society accept memberships rejected in medically assisted dying controversy (Nov. 13, 2020)

— with files from Laura Dhillon Kane, The Canadian Press



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Delta

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

Just Posted

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
OUR VIEW: Surrey Police Service continues to draw from RCMP well

Again, it flies in the face of mayor’s election campaign pitch that Surrey needs a police force whose ranks live in this city

New United States Vice President Kamala Harris (left) and President Joe Biden (right) are sworn in at U.S. inauguration ceremonies Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C.. (Saul Loeb/Pool photos via AP)
Surrey Board of Trade highlights innovation, policy changes as new U.S. president sworn in

COVID-19, border re-opening among issues affecting city, SBOT says

A tow truck works to pull a dump truck from a ditch at 176 Street and 40 Avenue, following a two-vehicle incident Tuesday (Jan. 19) afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Dump truck, car collide in South Surrey

Intersection – 176 Street and 40 Avenue – was site of 2019 fatal collision

The interventional oncology team at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The Surrey Hospitals Foundation has invested in innovative technologies to kickstart a new Interventional Oncology service at Surrey Memorial Hospital. (Submitted photo: Yvonne Chiang)
Surrey Memorial home to machines for ‘minimally invasive’ cancerous tumours treatments

Technology can freeze, burn tumours without need for surgery

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

A Langley woman said she was shaken by the angry encounter. (Google Maps)
Woman shaken after belligerent encounter with unmasked man in Langley store

A man angry about vaccines berated a fellow shopper, a witness said

Inspection of bridge crossing on a B.C. forest service road. (B.C. Forest Practices Board)
B.C. falling behind in maintenance of forest service roads

Auditor finds nearly half of bridges overdue for repair

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Most Read