OXFORDSHIRE'S health and social care services have been given a £5m government cash injection to help hospitals cope with winter pressures.

Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) has been awarded £3.2m from the Department of Health and Social Care as part of a scheme to deliver £145m worth of A&E improvements throughout the NHS this winter.

Additionally, Oxfordshire County Council has been allocated £2.3m from the government’s adult social care winter funding pot to help reduce bed blocking in the county’s hospitals.

However, the funding boost has been described as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by one MP who has called for long-term funding fixes rather than one-off payments.

MP for Oxford East, Anneliese Dodds, said the underlying causes of the winter pressures – rising demand, staff shortages and underfunding – could only be resolved by changes at a ‘departmental level’.

Responding to the funding announcement she said: “Whilst welcome, I am concerned that this measure will not be sufficient to deal with the root causes of the immense pressures experienced by OUH over recent years.

“Last winter was extremely challenging for OUH.

“Our hospitals issued a ‘black alert’ on three occasions, as 12-hour A&E waiting times reached their highest levels for many years and hundreds of elective operations were cancelled because of bed and staff shortages.”

She added: “The extra £2.3m for adult social care is a drop in the ocean compared to the pressures on our local NHS and adult social care services.

“Local NHS managers at Oxford University Hospitals trust estimate that, at any given time, there are 170 inpatients who are medically fit for discharge but are waiting for community or social care.

“This problem is going to persist until our social care system receives the proper funding it is so desperately crying out for, rather than a one-off bonus."

According to an OUH spokesman the money will help fund a raft of improvements at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford and Horton General in Banbury, including new X-ray machines, refurbishing wards and faster flu testing facilities for patients in A&E.

The improvement schemes must be completed by December 24.

Oxfordshire County Council said, it is yet to receive the funding confirmation letter, however discussions were already underway to determine how to best use the money.