VANCOUVER, July 7 (Xinhua) -- A Metro Vancouver hospital is considering introducing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) among its treatment options.
The British Columbia provincial government has backed a plan for a new patient-care tower at Richmond Hospital, and work is expected to begin this fall on a business plan for the large-scale renovation.
Management at the hospital is considering introducing TCM at the hospital as part of the overall expansion project.
About half of Richmond's 220,000 residents are immigrants from China or of Chinese descent.
"During this planning phase, we are recognizing the importance of traditional Chinese medicine, knowing that Richmond has a large population of Chinese descendants," said Yong Dong You, Richmond Hospital's head of medicine. "Also, there are already quite a few clinics -- acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine clinics -- in the community."
He said offering TCM among the hospital's treatment options remains conceptual at this time.
"There is really no concrete plan yet in terms of the space, or a budget," he told Xinhua on Friday. "But there is an intention, trying to involve traditional Chinese medicine."
The Chinese medicine component in the new tower could involve either -- or both -- research and treatment services, he said.
"We want to make sure that the patient gets the best treatment possible especially at a time when we recognize the use of narcotics and painkillers do have some detrimental effect on patients, and perhaps an alternative treatment would provide better patient care," You said.
Acupuncture is already a medical service covered by British Columbia's public health care system, he said, adding that the government here now has a "fairly robust" system of regulating and monitoring the growing number of Chinese medical clinics in Richmond.
You said Chinese residents and Chinese-Canadians often inquire about TCM treatment options at the hospital.
"I think the Western medicine and Chinese traditional medicine play slightly different roles," he said.
He said the emphasis of TCM treatments could possibly focus on healing, pain control and recovery.
"Richmond is really a good place for us to look into Chinese medicine," he said. "Fifty percent of the population in Richmond is Chinese-Canadian."
The business plan for the new building will take up to a year to complete. That would be followed by procurement and construction of the new building.
"If we do this, we would obviously need to involve a traditional Chinese medicine physician, but that has not been sorted out yet," You said.