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The health service's increased speed of turnover in getting patients out of hospitals inevitably put pressure on so...
The health service's increased speed of turnover in getting patients out of hospitals inevitably put pressure on social services budgets, Rob Sykes, Oxfordshire social services head of operations, told BBC Oxford.

Commenting on last night's BBC TV Panorama programme, which highlighted conflicts with health authorities over deciding whether a person required medical treatment or social care, Mr Sykes said:

'We take the stance there is no point in us fighting between us. We have to make the best use of the money available between us. If there is a national issue about the amount of money available, we should take that up at a national level'.

he said health and social services had to work co-operatively to do their best for Oxfordshire's elderly people.

Panorama reporter Sarah Berkely said disputes over whether care should be provided through the health service or local authority social services were very common and were happening in many parts of the country.

'In one part of the country you can get long term care free on the national health service. In another part of the country you might have exactly the same condition and find you are having to contribute to the cost of your care.

'It is a lottery of care because there are no national rules for what is social care and what is health care. Many people say the government should lay down some sort of eligibility criteria so that people would at least know what to expect'.

She added the grey area affected those who were very highly dependent, whose needs cannot be met entirely in the community and who needed a lot of nursing care but, the health service argued, did not need medical care. There were no signs that the government was to act to tighten up interpretation or say that locally authorities must reach agreement.

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