The number of complaints to NHS Ayrshire and Arran hospitals are continuing to rise.

Stage one complaints - which involve a front line resolution by staff - are falling and were at 302 from January to April, reducing from 332 in the previous quarter.

But Stage two figures - which involve a more formal complaints procedure - increased from 100 to 132 within the 20-day working target.

Nurse director Jennifer Wilson told North Ayrshire's Health and Social Care Partnership: “We will continue to monitor this to make sure there is not a trend there.

“In terms of the performance data, stage one complaints are above target at 85 per cent and stage two performance has dropped to 35 per cent and we will continue to engage with the complainants.

“Most complaints are in acute services and there is a real effort over the response to these complaints.

“Despite a drop in the performance, the quality of responses has been maintained with minimal complaints going on to investigation.

“Waiting times are at the top of stage one complaints and clinical performance the top for stage two.”

However the director revealed there has been an improvement in recent weeks.

She said:  “From a starting position of 35 complaints over 100 working days,  we have now got that down to five and are looking to close that off in the next couple of weeks so we have no complaints of over 100 days.”

A clear indicator of complainant satisfaction can be derived from the number of complaints that are escalated to the Ombudsman. There has been a slight drop in referrals from eight to seven.

To date, the predicted rise in activity has not materialised which would indicate that, despite our drop in performance, the quality of responses has been maintained.  

A recovery plan is being set up to help deal with the backlog and to to ensure complaints are handled more effectively and within the time restrictions imposed by the Complaint Handling Process.

The agreed Recovery Action Plan is currently being progressed. It is estimated the recovery period will be no more than six to eight weeks and an updated position will be provided at a later date.