DOCTORS have called for urgent funding for Castlemaine District Community Health, deeming cuts to a "fundamental" service "unfathomable".
In an open letter, the doctors of Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic said they relied heavily on the services and support CHIRP provided.
"As one of three general practice services in Castlemaine, we have seen a dramatic increase in healthcare demand as our population increases," the letter said.
"We continue to struggle to meet these demands and it seems unfathomable that healthcare cuts are made to a community service that focuses on prevention and helping alleviate the burden on wider medical/hospital services."
Four Castlemaine District Community Health services have been reduced as the organisation seeks to work within the available funding.
Affected services include diabetes education and outreach, housing services, physiotherapy, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation counselling.
Friends of Castlemaine District Community Health has scheduled an emergency meeting, seeking the restoration of services.
Victorian shadow health minister Georgie Crozier is expected to speak during this evening's meeting, which is scheduled for the Castlemaine Town Hall.
Wendy Lovell, the Member for Northern Victoria Region, is also expected to attend.
The local member, Maree Edwards, and Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos were both invited.
Read the letter in full
"To whom it may concern,
As a collective, the doctors of the Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic would like to voice their concern regarding the funding cuts to Castlemaine District Community Health.
As a medical service, we rely heavily on the services and support CHIRP has provided for decades.
The cost to the community with the disruption of these services is immense.
The service is a stand-alone provider of community and preventative health services. We refer multiple times daily to the diabetes educators, drug and alcohol counsellors, housing and welfare services, all of which are not accessible through any other pathway in town.
In addition, the mental health counselling service, physiotherapy team, exercise physiology, and dietetics service provide a low-cost service to those most vulnerable in our community who cannot access this healthcare otherwise.
As one of three general practice services in Castlemaine, we have seen a dramatic increase in healthcare demand as our population increases. We continue to struggle to meet these demands and it seems unfathomable that healthcare cuts are made to a community service that focuses on prevention and helping alleviate the burden on wider medical/hospital services... a community service that primarily treats those most vulnerable in our community.
We support the call for urgent restoration of funding to the Castlemaine District Community Health Service, a service fundamental to the provision of healthcare in our community.
The GPs at Lyttleton Street Medical Clinic."