Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Yorkshire floods: Brain tumour woman in wait for repairs

Patricia Meadows
Image caption Patricia Meadows said she had to delay an operation

A woman with a brain tumour has been waiting three months for work on her flooded home to begin following a dispute with her insurers.

Patricia Meadows, 67, said she had to delay an operation as she did not have anywhere suitable to recuperate.

She has been arguing over the cost of repairs to her adapted bungalow in Doncaster after floods in November.

After being contacted by the BBC, insurers RSA apologised and said work would begin as soon as possible.

Mrs Meadows, from Tickhill, said the insurers were "penny-pinching to save them money for doing this bungalow, repairing this home properly".

"This home was to enable me to have further surgery. They robbed me of three months of my life," she said.

Image caption Mrs Meadows said her floor should have been lifted and disposed of following the flooding

Mrs Meadows, who has problems with her balance due to her benign tumour, had to be rescued from her home after it was flooded.

Insurance firm RSA said that after the flooding its priority had been to get her into alternative accommodation, which it did.

However, according to Mrs Meadows, it was three weeks before her home was visited, by which time more damage had been done.

RSA said the work took longer than usual to start as a detailed schedule had to be agreed with Mrs Meadows, who was not using "our own approved repairers".

It said she would be compensated for issues caused by this delay.

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Media captionThere was disruption across South Yorkshire after days of persistent rain

Mrs Meadows had been due to have an operation on her slow-growing tumour to stop it becoming life-threatening.

She had planned to recover in her home, which has been adapted to be wheelchair-friendly with widened doorways, a disabled bathroom and a walk-in shower.

However, she said she postponed the procedure because the accommodation she was given after the flood was not disability-friendly.

She has been in talks with her medical team and the local authority regarding the suitability of this accommodation.

Image caption The house has stood empty while Mrs Meadows and her loss adjuster argue over the repairs

RSA confirmed it would "discuss this matter with her in detail".

"We have now come to an agreement and the repair process will begin as soon as possible," a spokesperson said.

"We look forward to working closely with Mrs Meadows to settle her claim and ensure her alternative accommodation meets her needs in the interim."

About 500 homes were flooded in Doncaster with 1,200 properties evacuated after parts of northern England endured a month's worth of rain in 24 hours in November.

Laura Hughes, from the Association of British Insurers, said: "There's a lot of flood claims and we're aware that not every single one goes perfectly.

"It's really important that insurers do actually take the bad experiences very seriously and make sure they learn from them and improve for the future."

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it would be looking into the extent to which those affected by flooding did not have sufficient insurance cover.

But it said it had no evidence of a systemic failure in the insurance market.

Inside Out (Yorkshire and Lincolnshire) investigates the impact of last year's floods on BBC One at 19:30 GMT on Monday 10 February and can be seen afterwards on BBC iPlayer.

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