BOSTON — State public health officials have approved a contentious plan by UMass Memorial Medical Center to cut 13 psychiatric beds.

Officials at the Worcester hospital want to convert the psychiatric beds into space for medical and surgical patients as part of a $30 million renovation project, saying there is more demand for those services.

The plan has been criticized by mental health advocates, city officials and the state’s largest nurses’ union, all concerned about possible loss of access to proper care for mental health patients.

In response, UMass Memorial has said it will work with other mental health facilities in the region to ensure access.

The state’s Public Health Council on Wednesday also required UMass Memorial to prioritize admission for psychiatric patients whose insurance may not cover treatment at other facilities.