MORE than 100 beds are set to be closed and more than 1000 surgeries cancelled or delayed as regional hospitals deal with budget cuts.
The Federal Government last year said it would cut $107 million from Victoria's hospital funding this financial year and $475 million over four years based on revised population data.
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It has resulted in $28 million being stripped from the state's rural and regional health services.
Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek blamed the $616 million worth of state budget cuts over the next four year for the current hospital crisis.
But state Health Minister David Davis along with his federal Coalition colleagues have condemned the reduction in Commonwealth funding, which came half way through the financial year.
A meeting on the issue last Friday between Mr Davis and Ms Plibersek ended in a stalemate.
Bendigo Health announced last week it would close 24 beds, and cut elective surgery by 600 cases because of federal funding cuts.
About $100,000 would also be slashed from its mental health program.
"The reality is that these cuts will increase waiting times in our emergency department and result in a blowout of our elective surgery waiting list to over 1500, undoing much of the progress we have made in recent years," Bendigo hospital chief executive John Mulder said.
Albury-Wodonga Health is understood to be closing 28 beds and delaying 250 surgeries, Geelong's Barwon Health will close 24 beds while Hamilton and Shepparton hospitals will close six beds each.
Warrnambool hospital will delay 260 elective surgeries and close five beds in obstetric and gynaecology units, four in the geriatric unit and shut its operating theatres for an entire month over Easter. Last week hundreds of angry Colac residents confronted its hospital management about the planned closure of its emergency department at night as a cost cutting measure.
They were handed a reprieve last Friday when Barwon Medicare Local provided funding for the service to remain open for another three months.
Rural Doctors Association of Victoria president Mike Moynihan said any cutbacks were of concern for rural communities, because once services were discontinued, they were rarely reinstated.
"Surgery is a driving force for a hospital to provide other services. Visiting surgeons (are needed to) sustain the specialist GPs who sustain good hospital emergency departments," Dr Moynihan said.