Health chiefs have hit back at critics who say they are slashing nursing jobs.
Of the 2000 nurses and midwives positions cut in Scotland since 2009, 187 of them were in Forth Valley.
Central Scotland MSP Margaret Mitchell hit out at the staff reductions and said that the loss of 963 NHS staff locally was “worrying”.
She said: “Clearly, it is key employees who are being let go which sadly confirms that the SNP is failing to protect frontline NHS services.
“Moreover, the fact that so many have been cut so quickly – NHS Forth Valley has lost 63 nurses and 17 midwives since March last year – is evidence of a worrying pattern being established and one which is without doubt already having a seriously negative effect on the service provided in our hospitals.”
But a spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said it was committed to protecting frontline services and providing the highest standards of nursing and midwifery care.
She acknowledged that the change from two acute hospitals to one had resulted in posts being cut, but said the health board was confident it had the right staffing levels and skills mix in place to meet the needs of patients.
She added: “Our staffing levels have been developed with frontline staff using national workforce tools designed to ensure we have the right number of nurses to care for the different types of patients in our wards. These levels are monitored to ensure they keep pace with changing demand. We have also introduced measures to help free up frontline nursing staff to ensure they have more time to spend on patient care and treatment. This has included the introduction of ward housekeepers and increased staffing support for senior ward nurses. Our senior charge nurses no longer carry a caseload to ensure they have enough time to spend on monitoring and improving care within our wards.”
Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has previously said that the NHS was coping with fewer nurses due to patients spending less time in hospital.