Major concerns have been raised over how patients will get to the doctors if the Shrewsbury Health Hub goes ahead. It would mean six GP surgeries being closed and moved to the hub.
Shropshire Council has said it will support with the scoping of options once a preferred site has been confirmed, but said it "cannot pay" for transport.
Councillor Kate Halliday, who chairs a Shrewsbury Town Council working group set up to scrutinise the plans, has said residents are "fearful and upset" over the transport issue, with older people and those who don't drive particularly concerned.
NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has said a travel impact assessment will be taking place in March, and a preferred site is expected to be confirmed at a closed meeting at the end of the month. That comes ahead of expected consultation in spring.
Gareth Robinson, executive director for delivery and transformation at NHS Shropshire Telford and Wrekin said in a report to be presented at Monday's Shropshire Council Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee (HOSC): "We are commissioning an external specialist company to undertake the travel impact assessment work. Shropshire Council's transport team, along with some of the project team have informed the criteria to be considered within a robust travel impact assessment. They are indicating six weeks for completion – commencing February 2023
"The full site options appraisal report will be shared with the extraordinary Project Board in March for sign off.
"We hope to share preferred site/prioritised list at HOSC 27th March as part of a closed scrutiny meeting. Stakeholder Reference Group will be informed following HOSC meeting."
Land off Oteley Road was previously selected as the preferred site, but a consultation last autumn was postponed so other options could be assessed, including upgrades to current GP surgeries.
Regarding Shropshire Council's stance on the transport issue, the committee chairman, Councillor Steve Charmley, recently said: “This is an issue which affects over 45,000 people in and around Shrewsbury and has unsurprisingly prompted strong views.
“Part of our role as the council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee is to ensure that wherever possible all voices in the community are heard when health and care services in the Shropshire Council area are being considered, seeking answers to the questions the public want to understand. This includes looking closely and strongly at the engagement and consultation that is carried out so that any changes in services are made as transparently as possible.”
“We look forward to receiving an update from NHS STW on the plans for engagement and consultation and the proposals as they develop ensuring that these take account of the public’s views.”
Shropshire health bosses believe the hub would represent a significant investment in local GP services and doctors at some surgeries have said if it does not go ahead, they will struggle to recruit and will face working in buildings their areas have outgrown.