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No value for money in N.B. use of travel nurses, says auditor general

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s auditor general says the province’s use of travel nurses did not reflect best practices or demonstrate value for money.

In a report released today Paul Martin says there was no bidding process or legal review for private nursing contracts, and that there lacked evidence all the people hired went through criminal background checks.

His report says the roughly $173 million the province spent on travel nurses between Jan. 1, 2022, and Feb. 29, 2024, was not justified and didn’t correlate to COVID-19-related staff vacancies.

Martin adds that the francophone Vitalité Health Network was responsible for more than $123 million on travel nurse spending and didn’t provide his office with requested information.

Horizon Health Network and the Department of Social Development spent about $48 million on travel nurses, and Martin noted “serious concerns” about a lack of oversight for invoices.

He says the company that charged the government the most — Ontario-based Canadian Health Labs charged more than $93 million — shows that the bidding process for contracts was lacking.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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