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Government announcement
15 January 2018

Decreasing wait times in emergency rooms – Minister Gaétan Barrette announces additional investments

QUÉBEC CITY, Jan. 12, 2018. – In order to decongest emergency rooms, Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services, announced today that an additional annual investment of $23.25 million will be granted to create 350 more spaces outside of hospitals so that short-term care beds can be used as efficiently as possible in the regions of Montréal, Montérégie, Laval, Lanaudière and the Laurentides. In the short term, from January 12 to March 31, 2018, more than $5.7 million will be invested to finance these additional spaces in 2017-2018.


We are currently experiencing a period of high traffic in hospitals because of the presumably low effectiveness of the flu vaccine, a situation we have no control over. Today’s announcement aims to cope with this situation while also decreasing wait times in our emergency rooms. There will be noticeable positive effects on wait times and a smoother delivery of healthcare and services for the population.

– Gaétan Barrette, Minister of Health and Social Services

Key facts:

Looking back to December 2016, Minister Barrette had already announced a total investment of $100 million to decongest emergency rooms and decrease waiting times in hospitals.

The additional investment announced today is one of many efforts made to limit the maximum amount of time spent in the emergency room to 24 hours. This objective was one of the changes proposed in the Act to amend certain provisions regarding the clinical organization and management of health and social services institutions that was adopted last October.

We also encourage people to use the free Info-Santé 811 service at any time to get advice on minor conditions and avoid going to the emergency room. Furthermore, we suggest people visit Family Medicine Groups (FMG) and super-clinics to consult a medical professional.