One of the Wimmera's largest general practice networks is facing financial hardship.
Tristar Medical Group's director of clinical operations, Anne Gardner, said the organisation, which has clinics in Wimmera towns including Horsham, had been in a tight situation financially for the past 18 months.
She did not provide a dollar figure.
She said an extended freeze on Medicare rebates had exacerbated the problem, as well as "confusing" restrictions about who could supervise junior doctors.
"As an example, with the legislative changes we've had with the Medical Board of Australia, in the past week we have a senior doctor who we put forward to the medical board as a supervisor for a junior GP so we can provide another doctor in the Mildura region," she said.
"Eight months ago, that doctor was approved by a medical supervisor, and this senior GP had not exhausted the number of GPs they could oversee. But when we put them to the board again and they were denied, and we don't know why."
Ms Gardner said this process cost Tristar money.
"As we try to place doctors in smaller communities, if we can't get a GP eligible to be supervised, we can't place that GP in a practice that requires a doctor - so as a consequence we have had to close down some practices," she said.
Ms Gardner said Tristar had closed more than 15 practices across Victoria, NSW and South Australia in the past 18 months.
She said none had closed in the Wimmera, though it had transferred the practices at Jeparit and Rainbow, where one GP offered services out of buildings in both communities, to another service provider.
"Over that time, we have tried to continue providing free medical services. If you add a lengthy Medicare freeze, but increasing energy costs and overheads to run practices, increasing costs to recruiting and retaining staff in regional areas and you've got a blowout," she said.
"We have been in discussion with numerous investment groups to secure our financial future, and we have come to point now where we expect there to be an agreement in the next few months.
"We are committed to continuing the same level of service in the Wimmera currently, and increasing it in response to need in coming years."
There are eight doctors at Tristar's Horsham clinic.
It also has clinics at Nhill, Ararat, Warracknabeal, Minyip, Murtoa, Rupanyup, Kaniva and Goroke.
A Medical Board of Australia spokesman denied there had been legislative changes that affected its approval process in the past three years.
"The board's guidelines specify supervisors must not have conditions imposed on their registration or as a result of health, performance or conduct issues," the spokesman said.
The spokesman said doctors were not eligible to supervise juniors they were related to, or work for the doctor they are supervising.
"Further, a supervisor who concurrently consults with their own patients may supervise up to a maximum of four doctors," the spokesman said.
"Prospective supervisors who do not meet these criteria can provide an explanation as to why they are suitable to be a supervisor, for the board's consideration."
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