One of Melbourne's largest public hospitals is preparing to close one of its wards, despite increasing demand.
More than 30 beds in the surgical ward at the Box Hill Hospital will be replaced with "hospital in the home" beds, according to the state's health minister David Davis.
"What you are seeing is Eastern Health making decisions about its exact service configuration as it's entitled to do," Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis stated that the bed closures would open up emergency department capacity, and would have no impact on patient care.
The move comes as the hospital attempts to ensure sustainable services whilst dealing with a growing demand – including a 10 per cent increase in the hospital's waiting list last year.
Longer waiting times and a shortage of public hospital beds are leading many Australians to consider taking out private health insurance, allowing them the option of attending a private hospital, choosing a doctor and importantly avoiding waiting lists.
According to The Age, Box Hill Hospital is looking to reduce its elective surgery load by 8 per cent this financial year.