AN OXFORD MP is concerned patients could 'fall through the cracks' of the healthcare system as organisations think more creatively with tighter budgets.

During a visit to Abingdon Community Hospital, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said she did not want to see her patients put at risk because of funding pressures as more emphasis is put on looking after people in their own homes.

She said: "I agree in principle with the idea of moving care closer to people's homes.

"But we have a problem in Oxfordshire where there is a high cost of living and there is a struggle to recruit the right staff needed in order to make this successful.

"That combined with financial pressures on the NHS, it is causing people to think creatively and my concern that all of this combined together will lead to a consequence of patients not receiving the care they need."

While meeting patients and staff on her visit, Ms Moran said the recent decision by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to centralise stroke rehabilitation beds from Witney to Abingdon had not been completely thought through.

She added: "What concerns me about this change is people's access to buses and other forms of transport is a nightmare.

"Now it is not the trust's fault that the A34 is particularly dangerous and difficult to navigate but I do not think they have thought out how people who need this service will easily access it, if they're having to travel almost 20 miles to get to.

"They come up with these plans but do not think about accessibility, which should be a vital part of the decision-making process when you live in such a rural county as this."

Deputy medical director at Oxford Health Dr Robbie Dedi said the trust's focus is to run the service 'around the patient rather than the building.'

He added: "We have started a small outreach programme, where we are trying to provide services directly to the patient.

"An example of a patient we would work with in this pilot programme is someone who might have an infection.

"To prevent them having to go into hospital, we would give them antibiotics at home through an intravenous.

"We would monitor them and then if they get better brilliant, if not we would of course bring them into hospital."

Dr Dedi recognises bed-blocking or Delayed Transfers of Care (DToC), where patients fit enough to leave hospital cannot go home because the right care package is not in place for them, is an 'issue' for the hospital.

But he hopes the outreach programme and stronger relationships with agencies will help to make the community hospital a hub for services taken out into the community.

Ms Moran added: "This pilot programme where people will be sent home for a few days and their progress will be monitored - I totally agree with that.

"But we need to be prepared that this will not work for all people and we need to make sure the care that is being provided in this scheme is as good as if they were in hospital.

"A big issue is commissioning. We have so many different bodies who commission and fund services that we cannot provide the flexible services that we want to be doing - it is all very fragmented."