STRUCTURE: Two acute trusts that are seeking to merge have been given more time by the Cooperation and Competition Panel to provide information to support their case.

The CCP is currently assessing whether the proposed merger between Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust and Medway NHS Foundation Trust is consistent with principle 10 of the Principles and Rules for Cooperation and Competition.

In April it chose to escalate the case to phase II of its process and conduct a more in-depth investigation into the proposals, after its initial assessment concluded the merger “may result in a material adverse effect on patients and taxpayers”.

The deadline for completion of this second phase was 6 August.

However, in a statement released on that date, the panel said it had decided to “suspend the deadline” for completion of the second phase of its inquiry.

The CCP director Catherine Davies said: “The parties requested additional time to provide supplementary material for the Panel to consider in respect of the proposed merger.

“The CCP has decided it is appropriate in this case to suspend the deadline until this information has been provided,” she added. “A revised deadline for this phase of the inquiry will be set at fifteen working days from the date the inquiry recommences.”