A Whitehaven GP surgery has received the most criticism from patients, compared to other practices in north and west Cumbria.

Lowther Medical Centre has received the most criticism when it comes to patient satisfaction.

In the latest GP Patient Survey, run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England, 18 per cent of those responding to the survey said they either had a very poor or a fairly poor overall experience at the Whitehaven practice.

However, 30 per cent of people asked,said it was very good.

The practice was also the worst one among those part of North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group for 'ease to reach on the phone'.

The survey asked: “Generally, how easy is it to get through to someone at your GP practice on the phone?”

Out of 110 respondents, 54 per cent said it was not easy at all and 32 per cent said it was not very easy.

Only 14 per cent of patients thought it was very or fairly easy.

And 54 per cent of those who responded said they were either fairly or very dissatisfied with GP appointment times available to them.

NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group said they were aware of areas in need of improvement and that west Cumbria historically has more GP vacancies.

Workington’s Orchard House surgery was also among the ones receiving poor reviews from patients.

Out of 109 people responding to the survey, 4 per cent said they thought the South William Street practice rated very poor overall and 12 per cent said their experience was fairly poor.

Only 23 per cent of patients said their experience was very good.

And 31 per cent said they were either very or fairly dissatisfied with GP appointment times available to them.

More than half of the patients responding said that either it was ‘not at all easy’ or ‘not easy’ to get through to them on the phone.

Three quarters of the 125 respondents said they had real difficulty to get through to James Street Group practice, based in Workington, on the phone.

A quarter of respondents also said they were dissatisfied with appointments available.

However 81 per cent said rated the practice either very or fairly good.

A spokesperson for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Overall there was a positive response to the survey, with 83 per cent of people saying their overall experience of a GP practice in north Cumbria was good or very good, which is above the national average. However, we’re aware that there are still areas that require improvement.

“Historically there have been more GP vacancies in west Cumbria than in some other parts of the county, and this is an area that is now improving. Patients of practices in Workington are able to access Workington Primary Care Centre, which provides urgent same day appointments for all of the practices in Workington. A similar ‘same day’ service has been established in Copeland to improve access for patients in need of an urgent appointment. Both Workington and Copeland practices have set up visiting services, which mean that patients requiring home visits can get seen more quickly. These are some of the innovative ways in which practices are working together to ensure better access for patients despite the recruitment challenges.

“All practices are also offering phone and online video consultations, something which has been embedded during the Covid-19 pandemic and is increasing the range and opportunity for patients to access services more conveniently.”