The government is asking the province’s 18,000 physicians to accept a planned pay increase over a longer period of time in order to save some cash in the short term.

“We're under lots of pressure,” said Finance Minister Nicholas Marceau. “That will make our public finances very difficult in the coming years.”

The pay increases are set to catch up to doctor’s salaries in other provinces across Canada, but come with a hefty bottom line.

The wage agreement alone was set to cost $5.6 billion this year, and increase annually.

“This would give us a bit of financial relief,” said Marceau.

The premier says the health budget accounts for half of government spending..

“Doctors have received significant salary increases in the area of 10 to 11 per cent to catch up with other provinces,” said Premier Pauline Marois. “So naturally they should be able to help us out.”

For now, the PQ said it doesn't want to renegotiate a new contract, it simply hopes that doctors will be open and flexible within the exsting contract.

Dr. Louis Godin, president of doctors’ association Fédération des médecins omnipraticiens du Québec, said the plan is flawed.

The goal of the current agreement was to help physicians see more patients, so there is little flexibility to negotiate.

For us, this agreement and the different measures in this agreement are very important for us to be able to reach this goal,” said Godin.

Opposition health critic Yves Bolduc said with less money, doctors can't increase the number of patients they see.

“What we're going to see is that doctors won't be happy and they're going to do the work like they were doing before,” said Bolduc.