Hospitals urge health ministry to drop cancer care restrictions

McGill University's teaching hospitals and faculty of medecine are urging the province's health ministry to reconsider its plan to redirect cancer patients to health care facilities closer to home.

"We have no idea how it's going to work," said Dr. Bassam Abdul Karim, head of oncology at the MUHC.

Both the MUHC and its patients are concerned about the plan that's going into effect April 1st.

The Jewish General Hospital, St. Mary's Hospital Center and McGill's Faculty of Medecine are also on board in the bid to get the ministry to revise the plan.

Karim added that the patient's needs have to come first and not their postal code, which should not override the patient's choice of doctor and hospital, their condition, and the continuity of their care.

"We don't know, clearly, how it's going to function and how the patient will expect to be treated other than being directed from one center to another. There's a lot of answers that need to be clarified from the minister," he said.

The hospitals say they haven't heard a peep from the health minister since he said patients will still have a choice and their care won't be affected.

Karim said they're not reassured by previous comments by the minister who said the care won't be off-limits to off-island patients, but that the focus should be on treating on-island patients.

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