QUEBEC CITY -- The Quebec government is saying it will take at least several months to overcome the long waiting lists for surgery.

Minister of Health Christian Dube suggested Tuesday that there is a lack of nurses in the operating theatres.

He was questioned by the official opposition during question period about the 92,000 people awaiting surgery, due to the slowdown in activities in hospitals last spring, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Liberal health critic Marie Montpetit called for a clear plan and a deadline to reassure patients who are worried.

Dube said that there are usually around 40,000 surgeries performed per month for a total of about 450,000 per year, so the delay cannot be made up in two months.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2020.