Health minister admits to missing target for eliminating surgery waits

Health minister Gaetan Barrette is admitting that one of his major objectives for fixing the province's health care system won't be met by the end of this year.

In 2016, the minister announced a $20 million investment aimed at cutting waiting lists for surgeries, to the point where the 4,000 or so people who've been waiting for more than a year will have had their operations by the end of 2017.

But a report suggests about 2,200 patients were still on those waiting lists by the middle of October 2017.

Speaking to the Journal de Montréal on Tuesday, Barrette admitted his goal of cutting that number down to zero won't be met, suggesting part of the problem was patients refusing the dates they've been given to have their operations. Others, he says, were travelling outside the country, or were otherwise unreachable.

Barrette, meanwhile, says he's confident that surgery wait times can be cut to six months in the coming year, by the time the next election happens in October 2018.