B.C. cancer care announcements questioned by advocate

A cancer care advocate says the B.C. government’s recent announcements don’t go far enough to address healthcare issues happening in the province right now.

This comes after Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier David Eby announced details about new cancer care centres on Vancouver Island and the Interior.

Tamara Taggart, a former broadcaster and a cancer survivor, says she welcomes news of more facilities to offer treatment in B.C. in the future but notes none of this helps much in the present.

“More cancer care is necessary. Holding press conferences to announce that it’s been approved is probably a distraction from the fact that our government is sending cancer patients to Bellingham for their treatment,” she told CityNews on Friday.

A photo of Tamara Taggart wearing a yellow jacket

Tamara Taggart (pictured) is questioning the B.C. government’s recent run of cancer care announcements. (Source: tamarataggart.com

What Taggart is referring to is an announcement made just over a week ago, when the B.C. government said up to 50 cancer patients weekly will be sent to Washington state for radiation therapy due to the backlog for care in the province

“We have to remember that this is just a government opportunity to show that they’re doing something,” Taggart said. “It’s people who look after people, not buildings. They can announce all these buildings, but it doesn’t solve our problem of the fact that we are sending thousands of people to another country.”

On Friday, the province outlined investments being made into cancer care in Nanaimo. The plan includes a new centre being built at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, which will see capabilities for radiation therapy. Costs and timelines were not announced.

A day prior, B.C. unveiled details of a cancer care centre being built in Kamloops, which is is expected to begin receiving patients in 2027.

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Meanwhile, Taggart says she’d like to see the provincial government take more accountability for the state of healthcare in B.C. to ensure people get the care they need when they need it.

At both of the announcements, Dix assured both incoming facilities will provide high-quality cancer care when they open.

With files from Maria Vinca and James Paracy

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