Political Correspondent

More than 200 beds have been cut from hospitals in the greater Glasgow area according to official statistics.

The figures show that NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde reduced the number of available beds form 5987 to 5769, a drop of 3.6%.

The cut is more than one third of the Scottish total of 662 beds.

The health board said changes to healthcare and new technology have meant patients spending less time in hospital meaning fewer beds are required.

The Conservatives said beds must only be taken out of use for the right reasons and not leaving hospitals short.

The figures also showed that in Greater Glasgow there were fewer cases of inpatient activity and long stay activity but the cost of the stays increased.

The number of patient weeks for long stay activity fell from 64,058 weeks to 60,284 weeks.

However the cost of the care per week increased from £2904 per week to £3115 per week.

Miles Briggs, conservative health spokesman said: ““There is a general shift towards community care, which will explain some of the reductions we’ve seen over the past years.

“But at the same time, we have an expanding and an ageing population, and we’re going to need hospital beds to support and care for more patients who have increasingly complex needs.

“The NHS is under severe financial pressure, but having access to a hospital bed must remain one of its fundamental principles.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “We have always made clear that there would be a gradual reduction in acute inpatient beds across the whole of NHSGGC.

“This is in response to increases in day surgery, community alternatives to admission and a reduction in the time patients actually spend in hospital.

“There are hundreds of current examples of how medical procedures have changed and evolved e.g. just last month a new way of undergoing a partial knee replacement took place at Stobhill Hospital and the patient was in and out as a day case.

“Until this development the patients would have required an inpatient bed for up to six days.”