DISAPPOINTED GPs have vowed to continue campaigning for a new medical centre despite NHS bosses rejecting their initial proposal.

Knutsford Medical Partnership suggested building on the community hospital site but the newly formed Cheshire & Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB) ruled this out as being too costly.

Doctors say they desperately need more space to meet the needs of the town’s growing elderly population and influx of new families.

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A new health and wellbeing hub with a comprehensive range of clinical and community services, plus hospital consultant appointments, they believe, could solve the current crisis.

A statement from the executive board of Knutsford Medical Partnership, said: “Progress on a possible building had been slowly progressing through the newly formed ICB.

“They conducted estates reviews over the whole of Cheshire to establish a priority list.

“We had been assured that Knutsford remained a priority site given our lack of buildings which are no longer suitable for modern medical provision.”

GPs recently presented their plans to the ICB.

“Unfortunately, they did not approve the project,” said the executive board.

“Initial feedback is that it was deemed too expensive and there is not the required money available in the system.

“We have a meeting to discuss this with the ICB in the near future, to get formal feedback.

“They are still looking at some more cost-effective ways of improving premises, but these may be smaller additions.

“They are still speaking to the council about Bexton Court, but this was felt to be too small in the past.

“We are exploring other options with private developers to see how we can progress this much needed project.

“There is a deep sense of frustration and disappointment that another planned solution to improve services for health care in Knutsford has been deemed not worthy and too costly.

“To us it seems short-sighted and unfair.

“We will continue to explore options when we next meet with the ICB.”

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.

Knutsford mayor Cllr Mike Houghton said: “It is hugely worrying.

“I am shocked and appalled by this decision.

“It is simply outrageous. The lack of joined up thinking here is breathtaking in its incompetence.

“I cannot help but think that we have been a victim of the decision to expand the ICB to include Merseyside as well as the whole of Cheshire.

“It is clear their priorities lie elsewhere.”

The mayor is calling for NHS health bosses to attend a public meeting to explain their strategy.

Mark Wilkinson, Place director for Cheshire East, said: “No decision has been made on proposals to establish a new central primary care faciliity in Knutsford.

“Instead, Cheshire East Place, as part of NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, have agreed to explore potentially more cost-effective alternatives within the town which will involve reviewing existing buildings and how they could be adapted to suit the long term healthcare requirements of the people of Knutsford.”