Quebec says Jewish General Hospital can’t treat off-island cancer patients

Cancer experts are calling on the provincial government to reverse its policy to send off-island cancer patients back to regional hospitals to receive the treatment they need.

The Jewish General Hospital has one of the leading cancer centres in Quebec, offering treatment unavailable anywhere else. But in a letter sent out at the end of January, management reminded doctors to send off-island patients back to hospitals closer to home, because of a provincial government policy that says Montreal hospitals cannot treat off-island patients.

“Resources should follow the patients, not the reverse,” Barry Stein, the President of the Colorectal Cancer Association, who issued a statement calling on the government to reverse the policy, said. “It’s a fundamental right for patients to be served by the physician who can best treat their cancer and when it comes to cancer treatment, in many cases it’s a question of life or death.”

Doctors at the Jewish General have spoken out about the policy saying it undermines the complexity of cancer treatment.

“As a doctor our medical ethics say we have to treat a patients regardless, this is our mandate, we should look at what is in the best interest for the patients,” Dr Te Vuong, head of radiation oncology at the Jewish General said. “We are highly specialised in the treatment of cancer, we are leading internationally so if I think that a patient will benefit from my treatment it’s very hard for me to refuse them based on the area code.”

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  1. Joseph posted on 02/11/2014 02:11 PM
    Another dumb policy of the government.
  2. joeN posted on 02/11/2014 02:16 PM
    Here we go again with double standards. It was ok for Marois, Pariseau, and other assorted PQ folks to get treatment at this internationally reknown heath center. I say when it comes to life and death situation, we call our own shots not some narrow minded PQ trained bureaucrate.
    1. markR posted on 02/12/2014 08:19 AM
      @joeN Must be the same bureaucrat that approved Queen Marois the use of Helicopter to fly her around off island communities to spew her phoney promises. Screwed up priorities once more thanks to the PQ.
  3. GT posted on 02/11/2014 02:21 PM
    Does the same rule apply to off island folks seeking treatment at St Luc (CHUM)? Or is this another way to lower the reputation of the Jewish General because the others do not perform as efficiently?
  4. CDU posted on 02/11/2014 07:04 PM
    What a government - they don't want you to choose where to go for treatment yet at the same time the are proposing you be able to choose when you die. Feels like they might be more focused on reducing the number of people needing health care in the long run... also known as the "hurry up and die already" approach. Shameful.
  5. maria posted on 02/11/2014 10:29 PM
    This is just another example of their vindictive attacks they will do unto anyone that
    does not agree with them, of course they were going to pick on the anglo institutions, and it is only going to get worse. Of course they are going to withhold money from anglo institutions and now they have the excuse that it is the Quebec policy. watch and see they are going to do a lot worse. let's just hope we do not give in to this, I hope the hospitals and doctors are stronger than the P.Q. because if they give in they might as well agree to the charter also.
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