NHS chiefs have pledged to answer questions at a public meeting over the crisis facing healthcare in Knutsford.

An urgent plea for a new medical centre to serve all the town’s patients is still on the cards – but a site has yet to be found.

Doctors were shocked when their initial proposal was ruled out as being too costly by the newly formed Cheshire & Merseyside Integrated Care Board (ICB).

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

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

Dr Patrick Kearns, of Knutsford Medical Partnership, said: “We welcome the opportunity to discuss health facilities within Knutsford and will be attending the public meeting.

“We encourage as many patients as possible to come along and support the surgeries in developing medical facilities and services within the town.”

Knutsford Town Council is hosting a public meeting at 7pm on Wednesday, May 31, at the Methodist Church on Princess Street.

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “The aim of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for the public to put questions to decision makers, hear from the NHS what it is doing to ensure access to medical services in Knutsford and ensure all partners are committed to working closely together to expedite investment in facilities.”

The Town Council was alarmed when it was advised that alternative options were being explored and a combined centre was no longer a priority.

Councillors wrote to Graham Unwin, chief executive of the new ICB and have welcomed his reassurance.

In a response, Mr Unwin told the council: ”The proposal for a new centralised primary care facility in Knutsford has not been declined by NHS Cheshire and Merseyside but in light of external circumstances, eg the increasing cost of construction materials, we have agreed to explore alongside the new centralised facility potentially more cost-effective alternatives within the town.

“This will involve reviewing current assets that exist and how they may be adapted to suit the long-term requirements for healthcare within Knutsford.

“We have been engaged with both East Cheshire NHS Trust and Cheshire East Council to review the current assets for some time and several options are being considered.”

Cheshire and Merseyside NHS, Cheshire East Council and Tatton MP Esther McVey have vowed to meet the public.

The meeting will be chaired by the new mayor and supported by doctors from Knutsford Medical Partnership.

The 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.