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Quebec health minister, nurses agree to plan to ease workload

Click to play video: 'Barrette, nurses reach deal to ease workload' Barrette, nurses reach deal to ease workload
WATCH: Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette's fight with Quebec nurses is over. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, the health minister, along with the head of the nurses' union, have a plan to ease the workload of hospital nurses – Mar 29, 2018

Gaetan Barrette’s fight with Quebec nurses appears to be over – in a joint news conference Thursday afternoon with the head of the nurses union, the health minister announced a plan to ease the workload of hospital nurses.

READ MORE: Quebec health minister called ‘arrogant,’ blamed by opposition for nurses’ exhaustion

The health minister was all smiles walking into the National Assembly alongside Nancy Bédard, president of the Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ)

The mood at the press conference Thursday afternoon was in stark contrast to the story that’s played out for months — Quebec nurses fed up with their workloads, burnt out from forced overtime.

READ MORE: Quebec nurses push for new law to limit nurse-to-patient ratios

Now, Barrette has a solution nurses can finally get behind.

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“Today, we arrive smiling because we’ve succeeded,” Bédard said.

The plan is to establish a pilot project that will put in place specific nurse-to-patient ratios in 17 hospitals and long-term care homes. In some cases, those ratios will be half of the nurses’ current patient load.

“So that’s a very significant reduction for workload of the nurses,” underscored Barrette.

The ratios will be in effect at the Lakeshore General Hospital in just a few weeks, followed by 16 other hospitals and CHSLDs by the fall.

READ MORE: Patients in long-term care homes in Quebec fear lack of attendants for second bath

“At the end of the process, we will have a set of rules, if you wish, that will have determined the actual proper ratio that can apply in any given situation,” Barrette explained.

The pilot project will only last a few months. Barrette said it will determine how much nurses can be asked to handle for the safety of patients. Then, those numbers will be applied across the province.

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