The Department of Health has been dragged into a row between NHS Kingston and one of its GP practices.

The cooperation and competition panel last month ruled the primary care trust’s decision not to allow the Churchill Medical Centre to open a new branch surgery was inconsistent with the NHS’s Principles and Rules for Cooperation and Competition.

It rejected the PCT’s concerns that the branch surgery might negatively affect a nearby practice and add more costs for the PCT. The panel recommended to the DH and NHS London that the PCT should give the go-ahead for the branch surgery.

In a letter to the practice, Kingston PCT chief executive David Smith said until the DH and NHS London have considered the report, it would not give permission for the branch surgery. A PCT spokesperson said it would be discussing the report with the DH and the strategic health authority.