GRANDMOTHER Jane-Mary Allen says she was abandoned in her upstairs flat after she was returned to her Devizes home under the Home First scheme.

Mrs Allen, 75, of Tylees Court, was admitted to the Royal United Hospital on March 2 as an emergency with lung problems and after a number of delays was sent home on Thursday.

She said: "I was told a number of days earlier that I was ready for discharge but the Home First scheme wasn't organised for me so I had to wait.

"I was suddenly told on Thursday that I was going home after I had complained about the delay. There was meant to be someone there to meet me at my flat to make sure everything was ok but I was told no-one could be there.

"I was carried up the stairs in a chair by the transport driver and an assistant. They didn't seem to know that no-one was going to be there.

"I felt abandoned. They just dropped me off and went."

But she says since then carers from Home First have been visiting her three times a day and have been kind and helpful.

Mrs Allen, who moved to Devizes 16 years ago to be near her late sister, is also trying to persuade Aster to move her into a ground floor flat.

She said: "My health has been getting worse and worse for the past four years. I used to be able to walk to the shops but now I can't go out as I can't manage the stairs. I am completely trapped."

She lives on the first floor of the flats which can only be reached by two flights of stone stairs.

Mrs Allen's daughter and young grandson live in London and she depends mainly on taxi drivers to get her shopping and a cleaner paid for from an attendance allowance to cope.

She said: "The drivers from Devizes Taxis are Fantastic. They do my shopping and bring it up to me. I also have a cleaner who is wonderful and will do a bit of shopping for me. I can't go out at all any more.

"The flat is very central and I used to like pottering to the shops but now I can't go out.

Home First is a scheme run by RUH to get patients home as quickly as possible and to stop bed blocking. It involves other organisations such as GPs and social services.

Susan Milloy, Trust Deputy Director of Nursing and Midwifery, said:

“Home First brings together teams from health, social and voluntary sectors to help patients leave hospital when they are well enough but who might need extra support when they return home.

“Home First support was arranged for Mrs Allen on the day she was due to leave hospital, but due to transport delays the Home First team was unable to meet her as planned. Mrs Allen was therefore invited to stay on the ward until the following morning, but chose to leave. Mrs Allen has not contacted us, but we are sorry she has concerns about her experience and would welcome the opportunity to discuss the matter with her.”

Home First is a partnership of organisations that includes the RUH, Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Health & Care, Medvivo, Virgin Care, Age UK Bath, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Somerset County Council.

A spokesman for Aster said: “We’re sorry to hear Mrs Allen is struggling following her recent stay in hospital. Over the past few months we’ve discussed a number of options with Mrs Allen and her family, which include daily living aids and home adaptations, to allow Mrs Allen to continue to live independently in her own home.

“We understand that Wiltshire Council’s adult services will be carrying out an assessment shortly and once we have the recommendations from this assessment we’ll work with them and Mrs Allen on the suitable next steps. This could include moving Mrs Allen to a ground floor flat in the area or adapting her current home to better meet her needs.

“If Mrs Allen has any concerns or worries we would encourage her to talk to us so that we can do what we can to help.”