Disabled Southsea woman ‘left to die’ after her care is axed

A selfie by Anne Savidge
A selfie by Anne Savidge
City councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson with Sir Vince Cable at Portsmouth International Port. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Vince Cable says ‘Lib Dems have nothing to apologise for’ during Portsmouth visit

  • Portsmouth City Council launches urgent investigation after death of terminally-ill Anne Savidge
  • The 64-year-old former midwife died just days after having her care cut
  • Outraged disability campaigner claims 18 care firms contracted by the council refused to help her
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A TERMINALLY-ILL disabled woman died just days after being abandoned by the city’s care services, it has been claimed.

Anne Savidge, 64, was deserted by 18 different agencies contracted by Portsmouth City Council to look after her – just days before Christmas.

Geoff Holt and Anne Savidge

Geoff Holt and Anne Savidge

The severely disabled ex-midwife 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.

Six days later she was rushed from her home at Brandon Court, in Lawrence Road, Southsea, to Queen Alexandra Hospital where she died on December 21.

The revelation was made by disabilities campaigner Geoff Holt, who was a friend of Ms Savidge, and has now sparked an urgent investigation by the city council.

I warned them all that Anne’s life was in danger. I was in disbelief that (the council) had no plan B to provide care.

Geoff Holt, disabilities campaigner

Speaking to The News, an outraged Mr Holt said: ‘Myra Hindley had care before she died and she murdered children. Yet this little old lady didn’t. That’s disgraceful.

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

Ms Savidge was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October last year. She was given less than a year to live.

During an impassioned speech at the last full council meeting of Portsmouth City Council, Mr Holt described the sickening conditions his friend was forced to endure before her death.

Anne Savidge, right, is introduced to Prince Edward on Geoff Holt's boat Wetwheels in 2014. Geoff is pictured left

Anne Savidge, right, is introduced to Prince Edward on Geoff Holt's boat Wetwheels in 2014. Geoff is pictured left

He said Ms Savidge had lived alone all her life and relied on carers to support her and that she was distraught her care had been cut. Furious, he wrote to the Solent NHS Trust, the council, Stephen Morgan MP.

Speaking to councillors, he said: ‘I warned them all that Anne’s life was in danger. I was in disbelief that (the council) had no plan B to provide care.

‘Anne sat there, mostly in her wheelchair, for five days, in pain, her bladder tumour now oozing blood on her clothes, no food, frightened to drink because she would wet herself and not even having her hands and face washed.’

He added: ‘I am in no doubt whatsoever Anne’s lack of care over that period was to blame (for her death).’

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, was shocked by Mr Holt’s revelation.

The Tory chief said: ‘The first I have heard about this terrible, horrific incident of this lady’s passing was just then in those comments by Mr Holt.

‘I think it is right and proper the council does carry out an investigation and that we do look into the circumstances to find out exactly what has happened.

‘Without wanting to apportion any blame I take what you have said at face value. It is right and proper that we do look into this to assure ourselves and this administration, that our social care, could have done everything that they should have done.’

The call was backed by Labour leader Councillor Stephen Morgan and Lib Dem boss, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We need to look at this in a proper and full investigation. What I would hope is that we wouldn’t just concentrate on what council social services have done. It’s got to be about what the health service has done as well.

‘The problem we always get is where social services and health don’t work together. It might not be that that is the problem in this case.

‘But we cannot look at one little bit of this. It needs to be an overarching investigation which looks at all the circumstances and what lessons can be learnt.’

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan said: ‘When Geoff contacted me about his concerns over adult social care services and the sad death of Anne Savidge, I offered my full support in helping to find out answers.

‘It’s absolutely right that the council and its partners now look at what happened here and any lessons which can be learnt.’

Ms Savidge’s funeral is on February 28, at Portchester Crematorium from 11.15am.