Labour has accused the Scottish government of “staggering hypocrisy” after figures showed more than 1,100 hospital beds have been cut in the past three years.
The party said the drop came despite the SNP’s calls when they were in opposition for the number of beds to be increased.
The figures were collated by Scottish Labour after they submitted a Freedom of Information request to every Scottish health board.
They showed the biggest decline was in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has cut 333 beds in the past three years.
NHS Grampian has cut 180 beds and NHS Highland lost 162 beds in the same period, the statistics showed.
Overall, there were 22,794 beds in Scotland’s hospitals in 2009/10, down from 23,942 in 2007/08.
Labour today pointed to comments given to The Scotsman by Ms Sturgeon in 2006, in which she reportedly said: “The Labour and Lib Dem government’s policy of cutting the number of beds in the NHS has gone on for far too long. We should now reverse this process and start to increase the number of acute staffed beds to the benefit of the patients of Scotland.”
Jackie Baillie, Labour’s health spokeswoman, said: “The number of beds has fallen by over 1,100 in the last three years. The SNP are also planning to cut 1,500 nurses’ jobs this year.
“The fact is that they are guilty of the most staggering hypocrisy.”
But Ms Sturgeon’s spokesman said Ms Baillie “should be ashamed of her hypocritical statement”.
He said: “We need fewer long-stay beds to cater for elderly or disabled people, who can increasingly be cared for in their homes or the community, medical advances reduce the length of hospital stays, many procedures are now done on an out-patient basis, and the NHS in Scotland is making better use of available beds.”