Seven Devon areas including the South Hams are among the worst-performing NHS services in England, according to a new report.

Research conducted by Landys Chemist analysed the performance of the NHS in each constituency in England, looking at factors including average ambulance waiting times and access to next-day GP appointments to reveal the country’s worst-performing areas.

Totnes and South West Devon in the South Hams as well as Torbay, South West Devon, Newton Abbot and Central Devon, were ranked among the 10 worst performing constituencies, trailing in equal ninth place.

Their overall NHS score was 2.21 out of 10 in contrast with the best performing areas in the country, such as Epsom and Chelsea, which obtained scores above seven.

To obtain the figures, researchers took data on NHS performance against eight targets from Bloomberg UK. They then gave each constituency area a score out of 10 for each factor before taking an average.

The research also looked at whether inpatients were allocated a hospital bed within 30 minutes of arriving as per NHS targets and whether cancer patients received treatment within six weeks.

In the Devon areas, patients with chest pain or stroke symptoms can expect an average 37 minutes waiting time for an ambulance, exceeding the average NHS target of 30 minutes.

In the South Hams along with the rest of the named Devon areas, only 38 per cent of patients are being admitted within 30 minutes (Bloomberg also pointed out that no constituency in England was meeting that target).

In addition, 89 per cent of patients diagnosed with cancer can expect to start their treatment within 31 days, which is below the 96 per cent target set by the NHS, while only 67 per cent of patients receive diagnostic tests within six weeks.

On the upside, the number of people accessing GP appointments in Devon are within NHS targets.

To give a country-wide picture, North West Northfolk and Chippenham NHS services were ranked the worst in England, with an overall NHS score of 1.90/10 and 2.05/10, respectively.

According to Bloomberg’s own research, Brexit “has compounded the problem, contributing to staff shortages”.

It also blamed Covid for adding demographic pressures, saying it had “exacerbated record levels of long-term sickness that are only set to get worse”.

It added that “the crumbling healthcare system” would be “a major challenge” for whoever wins the next general election.

“Nearly every single area is failing to meet even half of eight key indicators tracked by the government, from hospital bed availability to ambulance waiting times. A fifth are meeting none,” it said.