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

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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 offering the highest quality cancer 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 principle in considering a reorganization of delivery of radiation therapy and reallocation of supporting funds.

Proximity is important, if based on 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 require an 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 be a decision based on the 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                                                Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)                              Executive Director
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine                           Jewish General Hospital
McGill University

Mr. Ralph Dadoun                                                  Mr. Normand Rinfret
Interim Director General & CEO                          Director General and CEO
St. Mary’s Hospital Center                                    McGill University Health Centre

Related coverage
The Montreal Gazette
Global
24 H (in French)
CJAD
The McGill Daily
TVA Nouvelles (French)
Canoe (French)
Journal de Montreal (French)
The Montreal Gazette
The Montreal Gazette
CTV
The Montreal Gazette

March 13, 2014

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