Wales

Cancer patient Betty Pugh wants to 'come home'

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Media caption"She is the bravest woman I know"

A woman who lost her legs after cancer treatment wants to "come home" - but faces being moved 35 miles away.

Betty Pugh, 60, has been treated at Machynlleth Hospital, Powys, since before Christmas.

She wants to return to her home in Pantperthog, Gwynedd, but the council says it is "not reasonable or practical" to adapt it for her.

It wants her to move to sheltered accommodation in Harlech or Blaenau Ffestiniog instead.

The North Wales Community Health Council, which represents patients' needs, described it as "an infringement of her human rights".

In 2016, Mrs Pugh was diagnosed with cancer for the third time - just before her only son died in a car accident.

As part of her treatment, her legs were amputated at the end of last year.

Among changes needed to her home are a ramp to get in, a widened front door, shower room and possibly changing her living room into a bedroom.

"Life has been so cruel to her and she's not asking much. The only thing she wants is to come home," said her niece Carwen Sheen, who visits her daily.

"She's struggling every day and it's a struggle to get out of bed, to go in the wheelchair.

"I would hope that she might live - not a normal life, because it will never be normal - but a happier life."

Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Mrs Pugh with her son Guto, who died in a car crash in 2016

The family are trying to complete the work needed themselves and have so far raised £2,000.

"For me, I'm just thinking of that day, to see that smile on her face when I can tell her she's coming home," Ms Sheen told Post Cyntaf on BBC Radio Cymru.

"That will be such a happy day. I can't wait to bring her home."

A Gwynedd council spokesman said in such cases a detailed assessment of the individual's needs was carried out, as well as a survey of their property.

"The findings are presented to a panel which decides if it is reasonable and practical to adapt the individual's home," he added.

"If adapting the person's current home would not be possible, Gwynedd council can help towards relocation costs, should they decide to move to another private property that could be adapted to meet their needs.

"The council can also help the individual to move to suitable sheltered accommodation, should this be the best option for the person in question."

Mrs Pugh owns the property, which has thick stone walls.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mrs Pugh has been treated at Machynlleth Hospital since before Christmas

The community health council's Geoff Ryall-Harvey said these types of cases arose "all too often".

"I think this highlights the need for a joint NHS and social services budget," he added.

"The delayed transfer of care not only infringes these patients' human rights but also is an unnecessary cost to the NHS."

He said it cost between £700 and £800 a day to keep a patient in hospital, with it being more cost effective to alter their house.

Mr Ryall-Harvey said: "For people stuck in hospital waiting to go home, we heard about the loneliness, isolation and depression they may feel.

"Some people told us they felt they were losing control of their lives."

He said while the term "bed blocking" was used, most people just wanted to go home.

"What it means is that people have difficulty in getting the right care and community care services when they are medically fit to leave the hospital," he added.

"And this is through no fault of their own."

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