COMMENT: All agencies must to held to account for Anne Savidge’s tragic death

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Dignity in death is a concept we all hold dear. Nobody could bear to see a loved one suffer in their final weeks or days, and, should it ever cross our minds, we all hope that when our time comes, it will be peaceful and painless.

The story of former midwife Anne Savidge is shocking and distressing in equal measure.

Diagnosed with terminal cancer in October last year, she was given less than a year to live.

The horrors that lay ahead were unimaginable, as it appears that Anne was deserted by 18 different agencies contracted by Portsmouth City Council to look after her, just days before Christmas.

The severely disabled 64-year-old was left alone to fester in her Southsea home, unable to leave her bed to eat or drink, with soiled clothing littering her flat.

Her care was axed on December 10 last year amid claims she had been verbally abusive to staff.

But how could this be allowed to happen? How could a dying woman, in pain, and possibly very angry with her lot, be left alone to suffer in this way?

Disabilities campaigner Geoff Holt, who was a friend of Anne, has spoken out about her case, and his intervention has sparked an urgent investigation by the city council.

He said: ‘This little old lady, who was scared and terminally ill, was banned or barred by 18 different care agencies – 18. That beggars belief.’

Indeed it does.

The investigation into how Miss Savidge was treated must be thorough and wide-ranging, holding all 18 agencies to account for their part in the unfolding tragedy.

We all need reassurance that this appalling treatment will never happen again.