The Victorian Health Minister says she has directed the Department of Health and Human Services to help Bendigo Health find an ear, nose and throat specialist.
Some patients have been on a waiting list for more than five years to see an ENT surgeon at the public hospital.
Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos said she had directed the department to offer "any necessary assistance to Bendigo Health to recruit the necessary specialists to offer the very best care".
"The Andrews Labor government is investing more in our regional hospitals than ever before so more regional Victorians can access the high-quality care and facilities they need, closer to home," a spokesperson for Ms Mikakos said.
"We know that the attraction and retention of medical professionals is a challenge in regional Victoria. That's why the Federal Government has to do more to fix the issue.
The Victorian Government has provided $320.46 million to Bendigo Health in this financial year, an increase of 12.1 per cent on the previous 12 months.
Bendigo Health is charged with allocating the funds where it believes is clinically appropriate.
But there are still patients like Michelle Smith's six-year-old son Chayce, who has been waiting to see a ENT surgeon at the hospital for more than five years.
He was first put on the waiting list when he was 18 months old after having recurring ear infections, but Ms Smith said she was told a couple of weeks ago that Chayce had been taken off the list.
"I received a phone call from my doctor saying he had been removed from the waiting list because there was no ENT specialist available," she said. "There was no other information on why.
"We were just told that we have to seek a referral elsewhere."
Ms Smith said her son, who is Indigenous, still has severe ear infections up to 20 days of the month.
"Ear infections and ear problems are such a chronic issue with Indigenous kids and it can lead to more issues," Ms Smith said. "But we were told about 10-12 months ago that Bendigo Health did not have the specialist.
"At our very first appointment with our paediatrician, we obviously went through all of Chayce's history with them and told them that we were waiting to see a specialist about his ears.
"They told us we would be waiting a while because there's no one actually here."
Ms Smith said there was a history of ear problems on both sides of the family.
"None of that is taken into consideration when a referral goes in," Ms Smith said. "Even the Indigenous side of it, that's never on a referral."
Chayce's paediatrician was able to test the six-year-old's hearing in November. Ms Smith said the test found there was no hearing loss at this stage, although his hearing is compromised when he has an infection.
She said the severe ear infections have been detrimental to his development.
"It has affected his speech, his sleeping and has led to some behavioural issues," Ms Smith said. "He had to do two years of kinder because his speech development was lacking."
While there are private ENT specialist in Bendigo, Ms Smith said her family could not afford the service.
"It's not feasible for us," she said. "We're a one-income family and I have a lot of severe medical conditions so I can't medically work.
"It's either go private or feed my kids, so it has not been an option."
Chayce has been put on the waiting list at other public hospitals outside of Bendigo, after a recommendation from his paediatrician.
"Our paediatrician at Bendigo Health also referred us to the Austin Hospital in Melbourne to see if we could speed up the process," Ms Smith said. "But we've already been waiting 11 months so it hasn't been any quicker.
"We're going to see if we can get some other referrals as well, just because we have been waiting for so long and hopefully we can get in somewhere."
A Bendigo Health spokesperson has said in a written statement, "Bendigo Health is mindful that this is an important service and we are actively trying to recruit to it. This is proving difficult as there is a chronic shortage of ENT's in Australia".
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