SIGNIFICANT improvements have been made in health and care services for older people in Oxfordshire over the last year.

However, work is still needed to sufficiently join up the county’s health and social services to improve patient care, according to inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The news comes in a follow up report to last year’s damning review of the system in which the CQC said there was a lack of joined up thinking among organisations.

The review, published in February 2018, focused on how hospitals, community health services, GP practices, care homes and homecare agencies work together.

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In their follow up report published today the CQC said there had been a ‘culture change’ with heath and care organisations now having a ‘sense of shared purpose’.

However, there was still a need for a system-wide approach to staffing in social care and hospitals, according to inspectors.

One of the main areas in need of improvement was bed blocking - caused when a patient is unable to be discharged from hospital because onward care in the community is not available.

Oxfordshire historically has been one of the worst affected areas in the country.

Over the last year the county's health and social care providers, such as Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and Oxfordshire County Council have been working together to improve reduce bed blocking.

However, the CQC said although improvements had been made, bed blocking continued to be 'significantly higher' than the England average and required further and ongoing system wide focus.

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CQC chief inspector of Primary Care Services professor Steve Field, said: “Our initial review of Oxfordshire’s services found examples of shared approaches but relationships were disjointed and more work was needed to plan and deliver health and social care services for older people.

“Since that last visit, our inspectors have found system leaders had improved how they work together to co-operate, to plan and deliver health and social care services for older people in Oxfordshire.

He added: "While is it not fully developed it is showing signs of improvement.”