PERFORMANCE: Northampton General Hospital Trust has improved its response to complaints from patients, according to a new report.

The trust responded in full to 98 per cent of complaints in 2010-11 within the timescales set out in the NHS Complaints Procedure, an improvement on 91 per cent the previous year.

The trust’s annual complaints report shows it received a total of 466 complaints from April 2010 to March 2011, compared to 430 complaints the previous year.

Eighteen cases progressed to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Quarterly figures show complaints relating to communication dropped steadily over the year thanks to increased complaints training.

There was also significant improvement in complaints about clinical care.

However, complaints relating to staff attitude and behaviour increased 100 per cent between quarters three and four.

The trust said the reason for the spike was “not apparent”, but new training programmes did cover attitude and behaviour, and one of the areas involved had launched “customer care” training.

The trust has seen improvements in the number of complaints re-opened. This was 7 per cent against a target of 5 per cent, but has since improved to an average of 2.8 per cent since April 2011, the report said.