Fraser Health has labelled the Delta Hospice Society a conscientious objector and accepted its decision to ban medical assistance in dying in its Ladner facility.
On Monday, the newly appointed hospice society president, Angelina Ireland, told staff and volunteers at its Irene Thomas Hospice that the board had repealed a recent decision by the old board to allow MAiD at the facility.
The move came five days after a change in the balance of power within the Delta Hospice Society’s board.
Assisted dying has been controversial at the hospice, with former executive director Nancy Macey opposed and Fraser Health wanting all non-denominational hospices to permit the service, which has been available since Sept. 2016.
Irene Thomas is the only non-denominational hospice within Fraser Health that doesn’t allow assisted dying.
In September, Macey — the hospice founder — was terminated and on Nov. 20 the board voted in favour of MAiD. At the Nov. 28 annual general meeting a new board was elected, and Ireland (People’s Party of Canada candidate for Delta in the October federal election) was appointed president.
The Nov. 28 AGM was attended by hundreds of members and only three of the 10-person board kept their positions — including Ireland.
Former board president Jim Levin told the members at the meeting that polls showed most Delta residents were in favour of assisted dying being allowed at Irene Thomas.
Society member Alex Muir told the meeting that it was cruel to transfer a terminally patient from the Ladner hospice to another facility to receive MAiD.
In a prepared statement, Fraser Health said its assisted dying policy covered all “Fraser Health services, owned and operated, contracted, and affiliated settings.”
“We respect that individuals and health care organizations can conscientiously object and not participate in the direct provision of medically assisted deaths, while providing access to safe and timely assessments and discussions about care options, if required,” the statement read.
The society’s website still states that it allows medical assistance in dying.