The provincial government has asked for more audits and investigations after today (Tuesday) releasing Grant Thornton’s report on staffing and payroll of all private and community road ambulance operators in Newfoundland and Labrador.
As a result of the review, the Office of the Comptroller General will be asked to investigate any potential risk of fraud as outlined in the province’s fraud management policy, a news release said.
Grant Thornton will conduct forensic audits of those operators who were non-compliant over $25,000.
Grant Thornton will also conduct monthly monitoring of operators and directing them to work together to ensure clear, transparent data tracking processes are in place; and
A new internal audit group will be set up to monitor operator contract compliance on a monthly basis to ensure services are staffed appropriately and all public funding is used for its intended purpose, the province said.
The review was a result of public concerns about ambulance availability and staffing across the province triggered by issues in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Announced in December 2017, the review included ambulance staffing lists, timesheets, and payroll records covering a three-month period from July to September 2017.
The goal of the review was to determine the level of operator compliance when it came to minimum staffing requirements of ambulances and minimum payroll requirements.
Grant Thornton reported that during the three-month period:
· 15 of 47 ambulance operators (32 per cent) were non-compliant in delivering minimum payroll requirements;
· 36 of 47 ambulance operators (77 per cent) were non-compliant in meeting minimum staffing requirements; and
· eight of 47 ambulance operators (17 per cent) did not meet either requirement.
“We want people in our communities to know that they have a service they can rely on in the case of an emergency,” Health Minister John Haggie said. “Everyone deserves to have access to emergency services in a timely manner no matter where they live in the province. It is imperative for all ambulance operators to adhere to regulations and contracts with the province. I thank Grant Thornton for their work. We accept their recommendations and will begin immediate implementation.”