Despite meeting with Quebec Health Minister Gaetan Barrette on Friday, officials from Quebec’s nurse’s union were less than optimistic about any progress.

The meeting between Barrette and the Federation of Health and Social Services – an affiliate of the CSN – was the first time in four years Barrette met with union representatives to discuss health care reform.

Much of the discussions focused on stress levels and burnout for the province’s nurses.

“Too much on their plate and there’s no perspective,” said union president Jeff Begley. “Health and social services people, they’re dedicated. For most people, it’s a vocation and they can live through hard times. But once there’s no more perspective, they give up hope. They go, ‘What am I doing here?’”

Begley criticized Barrette’s “hyper-centralized” approach to healthcare reform.

“For four years, we’ve put a fire under Quebec and with what’s happening here with Barrette, it’s like he’s taken a garden hose on top of the building of the ministry in Quebec and he’s spraying on the fire,” he said. “Great, we’ll take a little bit of water that’s going to help our members, but it’s far from enough.”

He added that there did seem to be some movement on some issues, but nothing about some of Barrette’s major reforms.

“For the local negotiations, I think he was sincere when he said we want to sit down and look at the problems at the local tables,” said Begley. “For that little bit, it’s positive, but there’s no money there. It’s local negotiations that are very constrained but that have a major impact on conditions. So that was a good step.”