Quebec nurses get new powers to prescribe meds, lab tests

Quebecers will soon be able to get a prescription for some medications from the nurse's office, a move the Quebec Health Ministry hopes will improve wait times and access to health care.

Quebec nurses' union pleased with new powers

Nurses in Quebec's public health care system will soon be able to order some tests and prescribe some medications. (Kevin Frayer/Canadian Press)

The Quebec government is giving nurses more powers in an effort to speed up treatment for patients.

Quebec nurses' responsibilities will be expanded to include prescribing contraceptives, starting in January 2016.

Nurses will also be able to order lab tests, prescribe some medications and treat people with wounds and sexually transmitted infections.

The announcement was made Wednesday by Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette, who said Quebecers would benefit from faster and more accessible care.

The federation of unions representing Quebec nurses (FIQ) said it's pleased with the new measures.

FIQ's treasurer, Roberto Bomba, said it's a good first step, but he added that nurses could take on even more responsibilities.

"The key to providing improved availability and accessibility of care has to do with an enlargement of the role of health-care professionals, especially nurses," Bomba said.

Some measures come into effect Oct. 22, while the remainder will begin Jan. 11, 2016.

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