BC’s plan to send Cancer patients to US for treatment is falling short of commitment: Opposition


BC United have claimed that a recently obtained government documents reveal that the NDP is drastically failing to meet its targets for cancer care, struggling to send less than a quarter of the designated number of patients to Bellingham, Washington for radiation therapy that had been promised.
“Half a year after they launched their makeshift plan to send B.C. cancer patients to the U.S., the NDP is only sending 12 patients a week — far short of the 50 patients they committed to,” said Kevin Falcon, BC United Leader. “This program was supposed to be a band-aid solution, a backup plan that was necessary because of the NDP’s inability to provide adequate, timely cancer care to everyone who needs it here in B.C.”
To support B.C.’s cancer plan and reduce wait times for radiation treatment, starting BC Cancer started offering eligible patients radiation treatment at one of two clinics in Bellingham, Wash. “This will launch a temporary initiative outside the province that could support as many as 50 additional radiation patients each week,” health minister Adrian Dix said while making the announcement in May 2023.
Dix 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.”
After six months, the program is managing to serve less than a quarter of the cancer patients the NDP promised it would help. Only 310 patients in total have started treatment in the U.S., including just 14 from Northern Health and zero from Interior Health, Falcon noted.
Currently, only 75 percent of B.C.’s cancer patients are receiving radiation therapy within the Canadian benchmark of 28 days, a continued decline from 77 percent earlier this year, and a far cry from the national average of 97 percent Falcon said.