PATIENTS in Widnes are campaigning to save their small GP practice.

Upton Rocks surgery has been operating in portacabins since it opened 14 years ago.

It has 2,971 patients and is located in a car park at Widnes Rugby Union Club in Heath Road.

Husband and wife owners, GPs Sanjay and Shikha Pilalia of SSP Heath want to build a new practice but health chiefs have refused permission.

Instead, they have been invited to move into the new Hough Green Health Park or share a proposed new building with Appleton Surgery.

Paul Griffiths, aged 59, from Parklands, chairman of Upton Rocks patient participant group, said: “We want our own building.

“Patients love the brilliant service they receive. Patients know their doctors and can easily get appointments.

“Our worry is that if we move into a big practice we will lose the quality of our service.”

The practice has a female GP Dr Yezi Hassan and male GP Udit Gupta plus support medical staff.

Halton MP Derek Twigg said: "I support the need for new GP premises. We need to improve facilities for patients.

"I am very disappointed that NHS England is taking so much time to sort out this problem. Things need to start moving more quickly. I will raise this issue with them when I meet them again."

Tom Knight, head of primary care at NHS England (Merseyside), said: “NHS England is committed to providing patients with access to high quality, local GP services in suitable premises.

“Unfortunately, the portacabin at Upton Rocks surgery is in a deteriorating condition and is no longer sustainable.

“We understand patients would like to continue their care at the surgery and the directors of NHS England (Merseyside) have met with patients and GPs to discuss potential options. We can confirm that these include sharing space with Hough Green Health Park and the approved new Fir Park Scheme (Appleton Surgery relocation), both of which are only one mile away from the current Upton Rocks site.

“NHS England and clinical commissioning groups are required to work together to make more effective use of existing community estates and only where absolutely necessary allow investment in new or expanded premises.

“ There is a current surplus of clinical space available for the delivery of GP services across the area close to the Upton Rocks surgery and the cost of a standalone new build for the Upton Rocks Surgery would not represent best use of public money.

“NHS England very much sympathises with the points made by the Upton Rocks Surgery PPG, accepting this is a situation that has been ongoing for many years. There is clear commitment now to quickly resolve this matter for the benefit of patients.”