South Hams GP surgeries are the best in Devon, according to the NHS England GP Patient Survey.

The three highest scoring GP surgeries are all based right here in the South Hams, according to the results of the 2018 survey which were announced last week.

In poll position is South Brent Health Centre in Plymouth Road, which was declared the best surgery in Devon and ranked 20th out of 7,109 surgeries across England. In second place is Redfern Health Centre in Salcombe, with Catherine House Surgery in Totnes coming in third.

The survey, which ranks GP surgeries according to feedback from their patients, focuses on the issues that matter most to patients…. how easy it is to get an appointment, how they are treated by reception staff, how well they feel their GP listens and cares for them, and so on.

South Brent Health Centre said being ranked number one in the county “is recognition of the hard work and commitment of all our GPs and staff” and that it “highlights the fact that small practices are able to offer commitment and high quality continuity of care”.

A spokesman added: “We try to treat our patients as we would like to be treated ourselves. Patients have told us that they feel their health centre is like a family and this is reflected by staff as well.”

In the survey 100% of South Brent patients said they find it easy to get through on the phone and the same number find the receptionist helpful. Ninety eight per cent said they felt properly listened to by their GP and the same number felt they had enough time with their GP. All patients surveyed said they had confidence in the doctor or healthcare professional they saw at their last appointment.

The centre pointed to the “continuity and stability” of its staff and their “diverse skills”, as well as its small size and team work as important factors in its success. It said: “We have always strived to be a forward-thinking practice, and we will continue working hard to maintain these standards into the future.”

Redfern Health Centre in Salcombe also scored well above the national average. Ninety five per cent of its patients were satisfied with the appointment times they were offered, compared with a national average of 66%. Ninety nine per cent said it is easy to get to speak to someone in the practice on the phone compared with 70% nationally.

Sue Sharp, practice manager at Redfern Health Centre in Salcombe, said: “We’re really pleased to have such positive feedback from our patients. It’s an excellent testimony to the hard work and commitment of our staff and doctors, who always strive to provide the best possible services for our patients, as well as to our patient support group, who are very active and contribute so much.”

Number three in Devon is Catherine House Surgery in Totnes. Nearly all patients (99%) said it is easy to get through to the surgery on the phone and 100% said they find the receptionists helpful. Ninety eight percent felt listened to during their appointment and 96% felt they were treated with care and concern. Eighty six percent waited 15 minutes or less at their last appointment, compared with a national average of 69%.

Practice manager, Sheila Lamkin said: “Catherine House is a small, friendly practice. We treat everyone as if they were part of our family and we strive to do the very best for our patients.”

Overall, Devon scored above the England average in all categories. In the area covered by Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) 89 percent rated their experience as good, while in the South Devon CCG area 87 percent rated their experience as good. This was compared to the national average of 84 percent.

Dr Tim Burke, NEW Devon CCG chair, said: “We are very proud of the work GPs do locally, and we’re pleased that the public feel the same way.

“GPs are often the first point of contact for patients, and they have an important role in patient management, providing ongoing care and treatment for those with chronic diseases and acute illnesses.

“We all aim to make patients’ experience as positive as possible, and we will continue to work hard to maintain the high levels of patient care.”

Dr Paul Johnson, South Devon and Torbay CCG chair said: “It’s to the credit of local general practice that while demand is increasing, all the indicators in the survey show that Devon satisfaction rates are above the national average.

 “The CCGs in Devon will be working with practices to ensure patients continue to receive these high levels of care in the coming years.”