A WIMMERA health executive says his health service could be forced to put off staff because of funding cuts.
West Wimmera Health Service closed 15 acute beds earlier this month because the Federal Government withdrew $175,000 from its budget.
The government slashed about $107 million from Victorian public hospitals because it believed the state's population was falling.
West Wimmera Health Service acting chief executive Ritchie Dodds said the beds remained closed.
"Nothing has changed since," he said. "While the blame game continues between the state and federal governments with no satisfactory result, it's difficult to predict when we will be back to full capacity.
"If the situation continues indefinitely, then job cuts will become increasingly likely if we are to still record a full-year operating surplus; an outcome which the Victorian Department of Health says we must achieve."
Mr Dodds said the health service was continuing to lobby stakeholders to ensure people were fully aware of the negative impact of the cuts.
"The last thing our rural communities need is reduced access to basic healthcare, not to mention fewer job opportunities," he said.
Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Chris Scott stood by his comments made on January 11, when the Mail-Times reported that the health care group would lose $595,000 from the Federal Government.
Mr Scott said elective surgery waiting lists would increase, while access to visiting specialists would also be affected. He also said at the time that closing beds and staff cuts were possible.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan estimated the Federal Government had cut $2.7 million from hospitals across his electorate.
Editorial - see page 10.