The Fraser Health Authority has officially confirmed they have issued a notice of breach of lease to the Delta Hospice Society.
In a media release issued Friday afternoon, the FHA said: “On Feb. 25, in accordance with the lease between Fraser Health and the Delta Hospice Society, we issued a notice of breach of lease to the Society, as the Society is no longer using the Irene Thomas Hospice site, the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care site and surrounding lands for publicly funded health care services,” said FHA. “As a result, Fraser Health expects to terminate the lease and will take exclusive possession of the lands and buildings with effect from 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 29, 2021. We are hoping to take possession of the lands and buildings prior to March 29 if the Delta Hospice Society is agreeable.”
FHA says they are also continuing its planning process to ensure that the health authority can resume providing hospice beds at Irene Thomas Hospice as soon as possible.
“We expect to be able to reopen hospice beds at the site within two weeks after the lease is terminated,” continued FHA. “Fraser Health remains committed to ensuring hospice beds are available in the Delta community to people who need access to this important service and we will have more to share regarding our timeline to reopen hospice beds at the Irene Thomas Hospice closer to March 29, 2021.”
In February 2020, Fraser Health provided the required 365-days’ notice to end its service agreement with the Delta Hospice Society without cause. Public funding of $1.5 million provided annually to the Society for hospice services came to an end at midnight on Feb. 24, 2021, said Fraser Health.
The current board, which took control of the society after a heated annual general meeting in late 2019, is opposed to providing the legal procedure medical assistance in dying (MAiD) at the Irene Thomas Hospice, reversing a decision by the previous board to allow MAiD.
It put Delta Hospice at odds with Fraser Health, which mandated publicly funded hospices with non-religious affiliations offer the service to those who request it.
Noting the service is available elsewhere, including next door at the Delta Hospital, the current board maintains medically assisted deaths are not part of the society’s mandate or constitution, and that the procedure is at odds of the philosophy and approach of hospice palliative care.
Members of the group Take Back Delta Hospice went to court last year and successfully halted a planned special meeting by the society’s board to have the society’s constitution amended to become Christian-based.
That petition followed the current DHS leadership rejecting hundreds of membership applications by Delta residents opposed to the board’s actions.
Signing up many non-Deltans, the board has been accused of trying to stack the membership to impose their own religious viewpoint.-with files from Sandor Gyarmati