PENOLA'S only doctor has resigned after just one year in the role of general practitioner.
Dr Francois Pretorius had been working on-call for 24 hours a day at the Penola War Memorial Hospital with very little relief time.
His last official day will be March 22 when he will take some leave before moving to Noosa, Queensland, with his wife Thelmarie.
Penola Medical Support Group chair Bill Murray said he understood why Dr Pretorius had decided to move on from the demanding position.
"He was virtually burnt out. Providing medical services 24 hours a day, seven days a week meant he didn't have time for his family or to just relax."
The local hospital is now on the hunt for replacement doctors after realising the workload is unsustainable for just one.
"It will spread the load so they will at least get a weekend off every fortnight," Mr Murray said. "The practice is busy enough for two doctors." Mr Murray anticipated appointments wouldn't happen overnight and encouraged people to get in contact if they knew of doctors who might be interested.
In the short term, Country Health SA will provide locum medical services to the community to minimise any after-affects when Dr Pretorius leaves.
CHSA rural regional director of the SE health service Jayne Downs said it was hard to say how long it would take to find someone new.
"It all comes down to finding the right fit. We are already in discussions with potential doctors.
Ms Downs wished Dr Pretorius all the best in the future.
"He has built up the practice well and he and his wife have been very active in the community. It is sad to see them go."
A public meeting will be held in Rymill Hall at 7.30pm on February 25 to discuss the current situation and plans for the future.