THESE are the words of a young Banbury mother:

"I will be eternally grateful for the care my baby and I received, but it is a sobering thought that I am only alive today because of the presence of expert skilled professionals, especially as we would like to have another child."

She was describing how she nearly bled to death after giving birth at the Horton General Hospital and how on-the-spot specialist doctors saved her.

Her words bring home the concern of many young women and couples in the north of the county as the protests over the question of the Horton Hospital maternity department being downgraded because the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs it, say they cannot recruit doctors with appropriate qualifications to staff it.

Instead, the suggestion was that complicated births or emergencies would have to be dealt with at Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital, a half-hour run by ambulance from Banbury.

The announcement led to the biggest protest in Banbury in recent times, which echoed those from Wantage when the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs most of the community hospitals in the county, tried to shut Wantage Community Hospital down over a health scare which became mixed up with a plan to save money on maintenance work.

Add this to the shortage of GPs and the closure of some GP practices in places like Bicester, all the talk by those running health services about bringing care closer to home is likely to fall on deaf ears.

It is no surprise that public consultation on transforming the services in Oxfordshire has been delayed until later this year.

And if that is not bad enough, a sensible plan to bring together health and social care services could be scuppered simply because those who run the health services do not want to work together.

Most of us just want to see a doctor or someone with specialist knowledge if something goes wrong and most of us do not understand the need for such a complicated structure in the health and social services sector.

Those working in any sphere know that the job we are doing depends to a large extent on people working together, and this is also true of the health and social care sector.

However, it appears it is not working like that.

The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG), which supplies the cash for health services on behalf of the NHS, had to call a special meeting to work out how to commission integrated adult services in the county – simply because the two hospital trusts who provide most of the health services can’t or don’t want to work together.

The OCCG is right when it says that the best for the patients is that those who provider the health social care decide to collaborate.

Many people who care concerned over the crisis in the NHS think it is time to join up health and social services for once and all, putting them under the same roof to make sure the public get a seamless service – what the business world would term as a merger.

Current practices in the health service and social care has evolved over time, which is the main reason why they are disjointed.

However, all the pieces are there and many people believe it is those who administer the hospitals rather than the doctors, nurses and other medical staff that are standing in the way of progress.

Some improvement has been made by pooling cash from the OCCG and the county council in an attempt to bring the services together.

But many believe this is not enough and that it is time to scrap the old turf wars and bring the responsibility for commissioning all services, including those currently administered by the county council, under the OCCG.

There is already in existence a Health and Wellbeing Board, which is composed mainly of elected county and district councillors and which puts together and monitors the health and social care strategy for the county.

The board also has input from the OCCG, NHS and Healthwatch Oxfordshire, and if clinicians and hospital trust chief executives were added this could be the body to oversee a joined up system because it already has close links with other agencies that play a large part in everyday life in the county.

In the main the OCCG is trying hard to get the services joined up. What is certain is that the two hospital trusts who run most of the services should not hold up progress just because they cannot or do not want to work together.