Long-standing gaps in the regional health workforce are being compounded by COVID-19 impacts.
Beechworth Surgery has discontinued after-hours on-call services and a Saturday morning clinic due to difficulties recruiting doctors.
Practice manager Nerida Stephenson said the on-call service - operating 24 hours weekdays and every second weekend - had run for 20 years but could not continue.
"Most doctors considering coming to Beechworth and other similar-sized towns would prefer not to have this additional demand and would usually prefer to practise in bigger towns where hospital emergency departments take care of out-of-hours work," she said.
"This has made it more difficult to recruit doctors.
"Actual demand for out-of-hours services from our patients is quite low, however the requirement to be always available is the issue."
Ms Stephenson said the intention to reduce on-call services to within surgery hours was announced in October and no concerns were raised by patients.
"Our changes have been carefully considered bearing in mind the relatively low number of call outs, and the need to make rural practice more attractive to potential doctors.
"Our practice, like many others, is under considerable pressure.
"While we have chosen not to undertake immunisations because of our existing workload, we have run daily COVID testing clinics for our own symptomatic patients.
"There has also been a marked increase in consultations for mental health.
Although GPs from the surgery did work after-hours at the Beechworth Health Service Urgent Care Centre, the 24/7 care at the health service will not be impacted.
BHS maintains full service delivery but had to cancel its weekly testing clinic yesterday due to staff shortages.
Indigo mayor Bernard Gaffney said the weekly testing clinic was a valuable resource used by people from across the shire.
Cr Gaffney said no issues had been raised with him about the capacity of the local health sector.
"The community right across the shire have been quite vigilant," he said.
"The figures (of cases) are of concern but they're not nearly as high as others.
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"In most industries and businesses, they're reducing hours because of staff shortages and some have closed.
"I would presume that the health industry would be the same."
The closure did not result in a spike at Northeast Health Wangaratta, where 242 tests were done yesterday - fewer than on Tuesday.
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