A grieving widower has spoken of his heartbreak after his dying wife was unable to return home during the final five months of her life.
Nicholas Thomas has said major delays to adapting the bathroom at the home they once shared, meant Dianne died in a hospice.
The 57-year-old’s wife died on Friday, March 8 after she had been diagnosed with liver cancer in January 2018, Stoke on Trent Live reports.
Dianne, 63, moved into the Douglas Macmillan Hospice in November because she was no longer capable of using the bath in their privately-rented home in Longton.
The couple then received a £4,800 grant from Stoke-on-Trent City Council in December to carry out the necessary adaptations and were under the impression that it would be the first job of 2019.
The council partly blames issues around getting written authorisation from Mr Thomas’ landlady for the delay.
But Stubbrook Developments’ Megan Ward has hit back saying written consent was given within 24 hours.
And Mr Thomas is furious that when he finally received a phone call from a builder asking him to sign some paperwork it was a week after Dianne had died.
He said: “My wife had cancer and was struggling to get in and out of the bath so we applied for a council grant. We were awarded a £4,800 grant before Christmas and were told it would be the first job in the New Year.
“They were going to dig the floor up, put in a proper shower and make it safe for a disabled person. It would have made life a lot easier for her.
“I said to a lady who came out that I was not being morbid but if the builder started the job and my wife didn’t make it then I would prefer to pay the costs myself and start the work sooner.
“I didn’t know how long she had left so I would have taken the bath out and put a shower in myself, but because we were promised that work would start in the beginning of January I didn’t.”
Drawings were carried out for the work and Dianne had discussed colour schemes for the new-look bathroom.
Nicholas added: “She went into the Dougie Mac in November and was coming back home once the adaptations had been done. She was excited to come home.
“Every day Dianne would ask if I had any news and she was getting so upset. I was losing quality time with my wife.
“The Dougie Mac was absolutely amazing – but everyone prefers to be in their own home and their own bed.
“I wanted the work to be done so I could bring her home. I’m gutted that she couldn’t stay at home because I could have spent quality time with her.
“It was a joke and an absolute disgrace. I don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
His landlady Megan Ward said: “Nick told me about the adaptations he needed because of how unwell Dianne was before Christmas. He asked for permission and I obviously said ‘yes’ straight away.
“My colleague first received a phone call from the council on January 31 and we gave verbal permission for them to do the work.
“The council lady on the phone said she would send the paperwork that day, but I didn’t receive anything until February 19 when the paperwork was sent to me on an email.
“I signed the paperwork personally and sent it back the following day because I knew how ill Mrs Thomas was.
“I can’t understand why the council is saying it didn’t receive written consent when two weeks after Mrs Thomas passed away builders were trying to contact Nick to do the work.
“I think they’re trying to pass the buck onto us. The stress it’s causing Nick is disgusting, it’s terrible.
“Mrs Thomas will be very much missed from Gordon’s Court. She worked extremely hard to get the anti-social behaviour on Locketts Lane minimised by working endlessly with the police and the local MP. This is testament to the remarkable lady she was.”
The council has confirmed a disabled facilities grant was awarded to Dianne.
A council spokesman said: “Our deepest sympathies are with Mr Thomas and his family at this distressing time.
“Our social care team carried out an assessment of the needs of Mrs Thomas, and we provided some equipment and minor adaptations to help her in her home.
“Our assessment identified that the property would further benefit from a level access shower to support Mrs Thomas.
“The house is privately rented and to carry out this larger scale work required the consent of the landlord. Following our assessment, a £4,800 disabled facilities grant was awarded for the works to take place.
“We had a surveyor visit the property and tendered for a contractor to do the work. We contacted the landlord for their consent on a number of occasions, but this was only given verbally. To do the works it required a signed consent certificate.
“Our contractor visited the property in March to discuss the works because we were concerned that despite the landlord not giving the necessary consent, we wanted the work to be carried out. Our team was not aware that Mrs Thomas had sadly passed away, and we are extremely sorry for any distress caused at this time.”