The co-operation and competition panel has ruled against a primary care trust in a dispute with one of its local GP practices.  

The panel said it had concluded that a decision made by NHS Kingston not to allow a GP practice, Churchill Medical Centre, to open a new branch surgery was inconsistent with the NHS’ Principles and Rules for Co-operation and Competition.

The panel’s review of the case, which followed a complaint by Churchill Medical Centre, concluded that NHS Kingston’s decision to deny the opening of the branch surgery would “prevent around 1,500 patients from accessing their first choice for more convenient primary care services and may undermine improvements in service quality for local patients more generally”.

As a result, the panel has recommended to the Department of Health and London Strategic Health Authority that NHS Kingston should give the go-ahead for the proposed branch surgery.

CCP director Andrew Taylor said: “We carefully considered NHS Kingston’s concerns that allowing the new branch practice to open may negatively impact on the viability of a nearby practice and impose additional financial costs on NHS Kingston.

“However, the panel’s view is that any potential adverse effects arising from the opening of the new branch surgery are likely to be small or immaterial,” he added.