McGill teaching hospitals and Faculty of Medicine advocate for patient choice and immediate wider consultation on access to radiation therapy

Montreal, March 12, 2014 - On the critical matter of radiation therapy for patients suffering from cancer in and around greater Montreal, the Jewish General Hospital, the McGill University Health Centre, St. Mary’s Hospital Center and the McGill Faculty of Medicine strongly encourage the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) to reconsider its proposal to reorganize access based primarily on residential postal codes of patients, scheduled to begin April 1, 2014. In the interest of our patients, we urge the MSSS to instead initiate a comprehensive consultation with stakeholders, and we look forward to assisting in this process to define the best solution to offeringthe highest qualitycancer care.

The teaching hospitals and Faculty affirm that a patient’s needs must come first and advocate that the patient’s right of choice be preserved. A core value held by the teaching hospitals and Faculty, throughout their cancer network, is that patients must have access to the right care at the right place at the right time, to ensure the highest quality, effectiveness and efficiency across the continuum of therapies and support needed. This must be the guiding principlein considering a reorganization of delivery of radiation therapy and reallocation of supporting funds.

Proximity is important, if basedon the patient’s choice. However, also central to determining location of radiation or any therapy are the overall complexity of the patient’s condition and need for seamless coordination of care. He or she may requirean integrated team approach, one that involves radiation therapy among several other treatments. The Direction Québécoise de Cancérologie accredited and designated specialized teams of cancer clinicians in Quebec, the majority of which are now located in the province’s teaching hospitals, where care, research and training of future health professionals is concentrated in networks. Effectively supporting a patient throughout the continuum of his or her care most often calls for a team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, psychologists, pivot and other nurse specialists, working within the network, with the same access to the patient’s history and medical records.

Location of a therapy cannot be determined in isolation; it must bea decision based onthe patient’s choice, complexity of his or her condition, socio-clinical needs and continuum of care.

The teaching hospitals, the Faculty of Medicine, and their professional healthcare and support staff are deeply committed to providing excellence in patient care, research and teaching across the continuum of cancer care. We look forward to collaborating with the MSSS and our stakeholders to help bring clarity to this topic, and to all patients in Quebec.

Dr. David Eidelman
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
McGill University
Mr. Ralph Dadoun
Interim Director General & CEO
St. Mary’s Hospital Center
Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg
Executive Director
Jewish General Hospital
Mr. Normand Rinfret
Director General and CEO
McGill University Health Centre

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Cynthia Lee
Media Relations Officer / Relations avec les médias
McGill University/ Université McGill