‘Blame culture’ Oxfordshire health services 'improving'

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Image caption Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust runs the John Radcliffe Hospital

Health and care organisations in Oxfordshire criticised for a "blame culture" have improved how they work together, a watchdog has found.

In February the Care Quality Commission (CQC) said relationships between hospitals, GPs and care services had been "difficult" for years.

It praised "dedicated" staff, but also highlighted recruitment problems.

Now improved relationships have resulted in better outcomes for patients over 65, the CQC said.

The number of people in hospital unnecessarily has fallen, and improved winter planning has led to reduced pressure on the system, it said.

Professor Steve Field, chief inspector of primary care services, said co-operation between services was not "fully developed" but "it is showing signs of improvement".

He said: "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.

"We found a stronger strategic approach which allowed for closer working and co-production."

Previously the CQC reported some patients' "very poor experiences", such as being discharged from hospital in the early hours of the morning.

But that report also stressed that across all areas of health and social care in the county an above average proportion of services are rated good or outstanding.

Kate Terroni, director of adult social care for Oxfordshire County Council, said the organisations were only eight months into an 18-month action plan.

She added: "The report reflects the improvements in relationships between system leaders, the lessons learnt from last winter and how we're working better together to support people to leave hospital when they are fit to do so."

The report also looked at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and South Central Ambulance Service.

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