New Brunswick health minister says travel nurse companies took advantage of province

  • Canadian Press

Paul Martin, New Brunswick auditor general, is seen in Fredericton, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hina Alam

FREDERICTON -- New Brunswick's health minister says the province has been taken advantage of by the "exorbitant" costs it paid for private nursing services.

Bruce Fitch told reporters today that private companies did not follow the "rules of business engagement" in their dealings with the government for travel nurses, who work on temporary assignments across the health network.

His comments are in reaction to a report Tuesday by auditor general Paul Martin who said two provincial health authorities and a government department failed to properly monitor the contracts awarded for travel nurses.

Martin said the government signed almost $174 million in contracts between Jan. 1, 2022, and Feb. 29, 2024, and that the province did not receive value for its money.

The francophone Vitalite Health Network paid more than $123 million on travel nurse contracts, and refused to give Martin's office access to three internal audits on the agency's reliance on private nursing services.

Fitch says the Health Department is looking at whether the health authority should be taken to court to force it to hand over the audit reports.

This report by was first published June 5, 2024.