AN urgent plea is being made for a new medical centre to serve all the town’s patients under one roof.

Exasperated GPs say they no longer have sufficient space to meet the needs of the growing elderly population and the rise in families moving into new homes.

A dire shortage of doctors, coupled with old, inaccessible buildings is now posing a crisis.

“We are getting desperate,” said Dr Paddy Kearns, a senior partner.

“For 10 years we have been promised a new building and we are always being put off. They keep saying it is a priority.

“We know what it would cost and we have a site. It just needs the will from Cheshire East Council and the NHS to make it happen.

“We may have to shut our list to new patients because we could soon be in a position where we will not have sufficient space or staff to look after them.”

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Knutsford Medical Partnership currently operates on four sites, Manchester Road Medical Centre, Toft Road Surgery, Town Lane Surgery and Annandale Medical Centre, whose lease expires in 2024.

Around 120 staff look after more than 23,100 patients.

The proposed health and wellbeing hub would provide a comprehensive range of clinical and community services plus some hospital consultant appointments.

Dr Sue Reeves, a senior partner, said: “We really do care about Knutsford. We have lived and worked here for 30 years.

“We are desperate for a new medical centre. It would be amazing for us to provide the community with more services.”

The project has the backing of politicians and the NHS.

Tatton MP Esther McVey said: "I fully support the proposals for a new medical centre for the residents of Knutsford.

“It would allow more treatment to be focused in one place and provide a centre of excellence that is accessible for all local residents.

“I am aware of the ongoing issues trying to access additional central funds to help make it a reality and have been working with the doctors and various parts of the NHS on this since 2017.

"I will keep doing whatever I can do to help move this along and make it a reality for the doctors and their patients.

"I know how hard the doctors have been working on this and they have been doing a great job trying to ensure this project is delivered despite the challenges.”

Town council clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “Knutsford Town Council supports Knutsford Medical Partnership’s ambition to have a new central combined doctor’s surgery and would like to see our residents able to access as many routine medical services in Knutsford as possible.

“We are writing to the new Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care Board to press for their commitment to supporting our doctors and investing in Knutsford’s medical services.”

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Partnership said: “Our priority is to create and deliver safe, integrated and sustainable services that meet people’s needs by the best use of all the assets and resources we have available to us.

“Having modern, fit for purpose primary care facilities are essential in supporting us to do this and we are working together as a system at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside to find the best solution for everyone in the area.

“We continue to work with practices and partners to review proposals for the development of primary care facilities to support residents of Knutsford to have access to services that are safe and have been designed to best suit the needs of the local community and Cheshire and Merseyside as a whole.”

A Cheshire East Council spokesman said: "As a council, our priority is to help deliver and support sustainable services for residents that meet their needs via the best use of the resources we have.

"Having modern and effective primary care facilities is something that Cheshire East Council actively supports.

"We recognise that the town’s growing elderly population places greater demands on primary care and indeed all health care services – and we will be encouraging the NHS to look at all options available to invest in the development of new opportunities for Knutsford GP services.

"We will work collaboratively with NHS partners to achieve the best outcomes for residents of Knutsford."