Vancouver: The B.C. government has announced that eligible cancer patients will have an option of traveling to Bellingham, Washington, United States, for their radiation treatment.
The Province said the decision has been taken to reduce delays in treatment and starting May 29, BC Cancer is temporarily offering eligible patients radiation treatment at one of two clinics at Bellingham.
The cost related to their treatment, including travel, meals and accommodation, will be covered by the Province through BC Cancer and the Provincial Health Services Authority.
Announcing this move, B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said it is a temporary initiative outside the province that could support as many as 50 additional radiation patients each week.
“Health care in B.C. has always been about one key commitment: getting patients the care they need, when they need it,” said Adrain Dix.
He said, “To ensure every effort is being made to get cancer patients the treatment they need, we are temporarily referring patients to clinics across the border. This immediate action will support patients while we expand cancer services and hire more cancer care staff throughout the province.”
In a press release, the Province said over the next two years, approximately 4,800 patients will benefit from this temporary program, representing approximately 2,400 patients per year.
This would provide approximately 24,000 sessions of radiation treatment over the course of the program, or 12,000 session per year, according to the press release.
“During the same time, B.C. is expecting to see approximately 1,000 new patients requiring radiation treatment. By adding capacity for an estimated 4,800 more patients over the next two years, B.C. is taking action to ensure more people receive their radiation treatment by clinical benchmark. These efforts will help B.C. meet growing demand while creating redundancy to replace equipment and position the province to keep up with demand into the future,” the Province said in a statement.