GPs win first victory in competition case against PCT
By Nigel Praities
Entrepreneurial GPs have been granted a full inquiry after NHS managers blocked their plans to open a new surgery because it would be in competition with a nearby private provider.
The NHS competition watchdog said it will proceed with its inquiry after it found ‘potential concerns' about the way NHS Kingston acted towards a practice in their area.
GPs at the Churchill Medical Centre in Kingston-Upon-Thames were prevented from opening a self-funded branch surgery on the basis of ‘preventing competition' with a local APMS practice.
The GPs had already received a green light on leasing new premises before they were told their plans were being shelved by the PCT.
After hearing evidence from both parties, the Co-operation and Competition Panel said further investigation was warranted and it will now proceed with ‘stage two' of its probe.
The panel monitors the implementation of DH rules on competition in the NHS and can force PCTs to commission alternative services or withdraw money from them
‘The conduct may reduce choice and competition in the relevant local area, which in turn could lead to lower levels of service, quality, efficiency and innovation.'
‘The conduct raises potential concerns under the Principles and Rules. Since the panel considers that further investigation is warranted we will proceed to a Phase Two investigation,' the judgement reads.
The Co-operation and Competition Panel has published its judgement in full on its website.