The division of responsibilities that exists between primary and secondary health care services and health and social care services may create problems in the provision of care to patients whose needs mean that a number of different agencies are involved in their care The objective of all the agencies involved is the smooth transfer of clients between different sectors of care provision One client group thought to be particularly vulnerable to dislocations in the continuous pattern of care provision is older people Problems over the division of responsibility between professional groups are particularly evident on admission to and discharge from hospital It is the latter rather than the former aspect that has been the focus of research An extensive multi-methods study of the admission and discharge of older people from hospital in an inter-city District Health Authority was undertaken This paper examines the transfer of older people between different elements of the health and social care systems Our study illustrates that on neither admission nor on discharge was there a clearly defined mechanism for affecting liaison between hospital and community Clearly, the responsibility for this task must be delegated to a specific group However, such responsibility must be given within a properly resourced and managed system, otherwise the current position of blurred responsibilities will remain It is unclear as to how the reform of the National Health Service and the introduction of the internal market and the purchaser/provider division will aid the improved co-ordination which this study has identified as being required