Call volume and language requirements blamed for increased overtime at Ambulance NB

Increasing call volumes and a lack of bilingual paramedics are being blamed for increases to Ambulance NB's overtime hours over the past five years.

The Times & Transcript reports paramedics logged more than 177,000 overtime hours, up over 30,000 hours from 2012.

The extra hours cost the province nearly $6.7 million in 2016 and Ambulance NB says it's trying to reduce the need for overtime through recruitment and retention efforts.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau, meanwhile, says bilingual paramedics are often called in for extra shifts because of requirements under New Brunswick's Official Languages Act.

He says Ambulance NB is trying to recruit more bilingual paramedics as well as provide language training to existing ones.

(with files from the Times & Transcript)