More than 1,500 public hospital beds were closed during December and January, according to a leading health body.
A bed audit from the Victorian branch of the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has indicated
that 1,516 beds were closed across the state between December 23 2011 and January 25 2012.
The secretary for the Victorian branch of the ANF Lisa Fitzpatrick stated that they nursing body would continue to document bed closures to ensure transparency and accountability.
"This [bed closures] can't be explained by a 'realignment' of hospital services," she said today (February 8).
"There aren't fewer people attending emergency departments. People don't suddenly have fewer strokes in January. People still have medical conditions requiring hospitalisation."
According to Ms Fitzpatrick, 40 per cent of closures were surgical beds.
Private health insurance offers policy holders the opportunity to avoid public bed closures such as those in Victoria – as well as growing waiting lists – by attending a private hospital.
The 2011 Victorian auditor-general's report into public hospitals found that 29 out of 87 hospitals did not meet accounting standards at the end of 2010-11 financial year and risked closure.