The Quebec government is gradually extending the powers of nurse practitioners.

Health Minister Gaetan Barrette has adopted two regulations that allow nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat asthma, diabetes, and high blood pressure .

Doctors will not have to confirm the diagnosis in advance, but patients will have to see a doctor after treatment begins.

Nurse practitioners will also be able to prescribe certain medications.

The new rules have been under negotiations between the government, the College of Physicians, and the Order of Nurses for several years.

Quebec has 475 nurse practitioners, and Barrette has said he would like to have 2,000 more working in the province by 2024.

Meanwhile the medical union FIQ is calling for a law to lower patient-nurse ratios.

Nancy Bedard, president of the Interprofessional Federation of Health, will meet Barrette next week to discuss the topic.

The FIQ has been saying for many years that nurses are overworked and frequently forced to work overtime.