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The British Columbia government has announced a workaround to help those who want to use medical assistance in dying while they are being treated at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

A statement from the Health Ministry says Vancouver Coastal Health will set up a clinical space adjacent to St. Paul’s, allowing it to continue to refuse to opt out of medical assistance in dying on religious grounds.

The statement says it means patients will no longer need to transfer to another facility for end-of-life care.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says in the statement that medical assistance in dying is a legal choice and the government is ensuring it’s accessible in a way that respects patients, their loved ones and health-care providers.

It means patients who want to access medical assistance in dying at St. Paul’s will be discharged by Providence Health, a Catholic health system, and transferred to the care of Vancouver Coastal Health in the new clinical space, which is expected to be completed by next August.

In the meantime, the statement says Providence Health is expected to arrange for transport for those patients who want to use the service and make it as seamless and comfortable as possible.

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