The West

Bosses at one of Perth's major hospitals have angrily defended their decision to reduce its number of beds and staff, saying it is merely keeping up with the times.

Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital will lose 48 of 615 beds, and 81 full-time jobs, but deny the cuts will affect its activity level.

Instead Professor Bryant Stokes, Western Australia's acting director-general of health, said the cuts were a response to what was needed.

"Patient activity at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and Osborne Park Hospitals is not increasing at present and has been reasonably steady for the past couple of years. As a result, existing staffing levels are not suited to current activity levels," Professor Stokes said.

Claims that the cuts would lead to longer waiting lists and longer waits were "unsubstantiated", Professor Stokes said.

"Moves to reduce the average length of stay in hospital for some specialties will bring Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in line with other high-performing hospitals," he said.

Some staff would seek jobs at other hospitals in metropolitan Perth, such as the new Fiona Stanley Hospital, the health department said.

But opposition health spokesman Roger Cook said the cuts were a backward step.


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