Sunshine Hospital has been ranked the third- most-efficient major hospital in metropolitan Melbourne.

An Auditor-General’s report on hospitals treating patients who require “prompt action” for severe injuries, illnesses or urgent medical conditions revealed Sunshine was in the top six, and better than the state average, for key efficiency indicators. The comparison was with 20 other large hospitals across the state.

Patients needing acute care consume the most resources, the report found, while a shorter stay makes beds available more quickly.

“It [acute care] is a key driver of hospital costs and affects the capacity of the health system, both in terms of bed availability and cost,” the report found.

Sunshine Hospital also ranked second in efficiency for dealing with hip replacements and heart failures among major metropolitan hospitals during the 2011-12 to 2013-14 ranking periods.

Western Hospital in Footscray was judged one of the state’s best hospitals overall.

“If all 21 hospitals were as efficient as the better-performing hospitals in Victoria, then almost 145,000 bed days could be released every year to treat other patients,” the report found.

Operations executive director Russell Harrison said Western Health strived for the shortest length of stay possible “as this is in the best interests of the patient”.

“The [Auditor-General’s] report reflects our efficiency as a health service in maintaining shorter stays and, as a result, we are able to provide care to many more patients … this assists us in responding to the ever-increasing need for Western Health’s services,” he said.

While the Auditor-General reported that “hospitals generally provide acute care in emergency departments”,

Star Weekly revealed in October that more than 60 patients had waited more than 24 hours for treatment in Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department over the past year.

The Western Health report found that emergency departments were not performing to standard, with shorter waiting times and better facilities identified as key goals