An outer London GP practice, the Churchill Medical Centre, has won the latest round in its fight to open a new branch surgery.
The Co-operation and Competition Panel (CPP) has ruled that a decision by NHS Kingston to block the application be referred to the Department of Health and London Strategic Health Authority.
The panel says that Kingston's decision 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".
It is thus not consistent with the NHS's Principles and Rules for Co-operation and Competition, it says, and has recommended that the branch surgery be allowed to go ahead.
Says CCP director Andrew Taylor: "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."