Castlemaine residents fear for the future of their community health provider after four programs had days cut.
Services facing cuts include diabetes education and outreach, housing services, physiotherapy and drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselling.
Independent supporter group Friends of Castlemaine District Community Health have convened an emergency meeting on Monday to lobby for funding.
It comes after CDCH - known as CHIRP Community Health - chief executive Dianne Couch warned in August that operating costs had not kept up with funding staff.
Ms Couch said the board might have to cut services in the future.
Friends of Castlemaine District Community Health convenor Warwick Smith said the slated cuts meant the viability of the health service was "up in the air".
Mr Smith said if anything funds to community health services should be tripled, to focus on preventative care.
He said services like diabetes education and management were critical, keeping older people out of hospitals and in their homes.
"We feel like if we let these service cuts slide through then it'll be ... a new normal," Mr Smith said.
"If there's going to be a time to put pressure on restoring the services it's now."
We rely on all these other health services here a lot. A lot of them they're older and they don't drive, they've got to get family members... or taxis to go to other places.Joan Ingwersen
Community health service user Joan Ingwersen said she was disappointed by the number of things Castlemaine would lose if the service closed.
Ms Ingwersen has taken healthy living, strength training and excercise courses with the service.
A nurse who checked the group weekly recently identified a problem with Ms Ingwersen's health which she was able to take to her doctor.
Her walking group has been cut back to one day a week, from two.
Ms Ingwersen said a community health service was very important in a town the size of Castlemaine.
"You've got a huge population of aging people here. They need all those services that they can get because we don't even have a retirement village or a nursing home," she said.
"We rely on all these other health services here a lot. A lot of them they're older and they don't drive, they've got to get family members... or taxis to go to other places.
"It's a lot easier to go to your home town to talk to somebody there."
Mr Smith said the problem for Castlemaine District Community Health Service was that funding had failed to keep pace with increased running costs.
He described the situation as "a slow death by negligence".
The organisation's 2019 annual report refers to ongoing financial struggles. It closed the 2018-19 year in defecit of $100,061, compared to surpluses in previous years.
The treasurer attributed this to the finalisation of Enterprise Bargaining Agreements resulting in $83,000 back pay and increases in new pay rate values.
"Ongoing increases in expenditure including the need to accommodate ongoing EBA agreements means the Board will look to reducing services in the next financial year," the report reads.
Castlemaine District Community Health board chair Lexi Randall-L'Estrange said the service had reduced services in line with the available funding.
Ms Randall-L'Estrange said funding had not kept up with the cost of the programs.
She said cutting down services was a last resort.
Ms Randall-L'Estrange said the service's focus was working with Castlemaine Health to look at integration options.
She said Castlemaine District Community Health was a much loved, well used service that promoted good health, and supported people experiencing disadvantage with housing and drug and alcohol services.
"These services are really important to all regional communities having access to services locally," Ms Randall-L'Estrange said.
"Preventative health is about trying to help people stay in good health and we're trying to keep people out of hospital and acute care.
"It's really about people being able to live their best lives through being healthy and well to the best of their capacity."
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said the information given to the community about the future of CDCH incorrectly said funding had been cut.
Ms Edwards said this was publicly made available through multiple platforms, but did not name specific instances.
She said this information about CDCH's future was at odds with planning behind the scenes.
The financial management of the service was the responsibility of the board and chair, Ms Edwards said.
She said cuts to federal health funding were affecting all services.
Ms Edwards said CDHC was working with Castlemaine Health to co-locate the services in a Health Hub, which would combine shire services, community health and clinical and regional services.
A spokesperson for Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said CDCH's sustainability was a matter for its board and management, as it was not integrated with public health services.
"We want to ensure all Victorians receive the health care they need, which is why we have provided CDCH with support to help them plan for a sustainable service for residents and families," Ms Mikakos said.
A Department of Health spokesperson said community health services in Victoria were funded by the Victorian government. The spokesperson said funding provided was entirely a matter for the Victorian government.
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