Major independent survey of Devon patients provides ‘massive vote of confidence’ for GP services

An independent survey of 17,000 people in Devon has shown overwhelming public backing for the county’s GP surgeries, with nearly nine in ten respondents reporting a good experience of their practice.

The study, by Ipsos Mori, also found that GP practices in Devon consistently performed better than the England average, and supports other recent research by the county’s NHS which found more than 90 per cent of people had been able to access a GP when they needed to

The news has been welcomed by senior doctors and Healthwatch in the county, who have praised practice teams for maintaining high standards of service throughout the pandemic despite a 14% rise in demand for services and the extra pressure of giving hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 vaccinations to their patients.

The results of the national annual Ipsos Mori GP Patient Survey, which saw 16,990 people across Devon sharing their views on everything from booking appointments, waiting times, out-of-hours services and quality of care, were published this month. Key findings are:

  • Nearly nine in ten (88%) people in Devon described their experience of their GP practice as good. This is up by 2% on last year and above the national average is 84%
  • Nearly three quarters (74%) said it was easy to get through to someone at the practice on the phone. This is also up on last year’s figure (%) and above the national average is 68%
  • 92% said receptionists were helpful. National average is 89%
  • 87% satisfied with the appointment offered. National average is 82%
  • 69% saw someone for a face-to-face appointment
  • 87% of people were satisfied with the appointment they were offered. The national average was 82%.

Dr Paul Johnson, Clinical Chair of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for planning and paying for GP practices in the county, said: “This is a massive vote of confidence in the county’s GP practices and I am extremely proud of the level of service they offer to people in Devon.  Every year patient satisfaction levels improve, often much higher than then national average, and this year is no exception.

“I know general practice teams across Devon have worked extremely hard over the last year and I know how dedicated they are to their patients, but with the challenges, changes and increased demand they have faced over the last year that has been out of their control, the results could have been very different.

“Yet despite that, we can demonstrate that we have still been able to offer an extraordinary service in general practice that is well-received by our patients and supported by first-hand experiences.”

The CCG will be working with local practices and identifying actions that need to take place. This will include learning from the highest rated practices about what works for them and sharing best practice, as well as identifying which practices need further support. Information specific to Combe Coastal Practice can be found here: