Public hospital patients in the state of Victoria, Australia, are waiting hours to be moved from ambulance stretchers into emergency wards because of bed shortages, according to figures released by its government.

The data revealed that patients admitted to 24 major hospitals across the state between July and September 2010 waited for an average of 27 minutes before being transferred from an ambulance stretcher to a bed.

In September, patients waited for an average of 51 minutes to be moved inside, while in the worst case, 6% of patients transferred to Monash Medical Centre waited for more than 2 hours.

State health minister David Davis said insufficient beds in public hospitals was a key problem.

“Internal hospital processes and a collaborative approach between ambulances and hospitals also needed improvement,” Davis said.