There has been a slight decrease in the average wait necessary to see a doctor when showing up to an emergency room in Montreal.

From more than 20 hours, the average wait is now 19 and a half hours, according to a survey by La Presse.

Health minister Gaetan Barrette says the improvement is good but still nowhere near what it should be.

"We are now to a point where the most difficult part has to be done. There is still a lot of work to do as you can see," said Barrette.

"If you take my own hospital for example the improvement was very significant but they cannot go further than that because there are too many people staying in beds too long, so we have to address that."

However Barrette is keeping his expectations low.

He expects it will take years to cut down emergency room wait times to an acceptable level.

There are reports that $600 million will be cut from the provincial health care spending, but that will only be finalized when the Liberal government presents its first budget next month.