ONE month out from the federal election, Bendigo Community Health Services is calling for more funding guarantees from all sides of politics.
In a 'wishlist' released this week, the health service noted the pandemic recovery has seen a surge in need for its services.
"We have seen the impacts of the coronavirus across all programs and services, from our GPs and mental health teams, through to chronic disease management, alcohol and other drugs programs and our refugee settlement team," BCHS chief executive Gerard José said.
"Our workforce is tired and stretched.
"Like most of our Not-For-Profit partners, we are bursting at the seams and require investment in infrastructure."
The Bendigo facility has just five beds and BCHS said the facility is not fit for purpose and too small to respond to community needs and demand.
Mr José said despite the significant catchment area, the current building and program is the smallest community-based withdrawal facility in Victoria.
"We need improved access to place-based withdrawal facilities, which will mean local people can stay in their own community for care and support," he said.
11 days into the election campaign, funding promises in the region have been consistently targeted at community sporting clubs, with Labor promising nearly $2 million for local football clubs in the past week alone.
This includes $1 million for upgrades at North Bendigo oval, $500,000 for inclusive bathrooms at Golden Square FNC and $460,000 for Huntly junior oval upgrades.
Despite no direct health service funding announcements since the beginning of the campaign, BCHS said they welcomed current commitments from both major parties.
"We welcome the ALP commitment to funding 50 urgent care medical clinics and look forward to learning more about what role community health services can play as these centres are rolled out across the country should Labor form government," Mr José said.
"We also welcome the current Federal Coalition government's commitment to continue to fund Head to Health until early next year, and with current demand for mental health services we are hopeful of further funding commitments beyond 2023."
"We recognise people leading active lives is important, which requires investment by governments at all levels," he said.
"However, we are committed to amplifying the voices of the people we work with, to ensure the healthcare system reflects their needs - and in particular those with intersecting experiences."
Bendigo Labor MP Lisa Chesters has not made any funding specific commitments for community health services, but said she acknowledged the 'crucial work' of BCHS.
"They support the most vulnerable in our community and the federal government has a role to play in supporting them in doing that," she said.
Ms Chesters said she would reach out to BCHS to see how she could further support the service.
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