AN ELDERLY dementia sufferer had to be taken in by a concerned neighbour after hospital doctors sent her back to her empty home in a taxi — still dressed in pyjamas and slippers.

Disorientated Florence Myerscough was unable to let herself in, and was 'soaked' in the rain before the neighbour came to her aid.

The 76-year-old, of Canada Street, Halliwell, was admitted to the Bolton Hospital with chronic back pain at tea time on Christmas Day, but discharged at about 10pm.

Daughter Karen Bye says she is furious the hospital did not contact her before sending her vulnerable mother home.

She said: “We were under the impression mum wasn’t coming home. If she was, then we should automatically have had a phone call to say she was being discharged. I got a phone call from her next door neighbour to say ‘I have got your mum here’. I said ‘You’re joking, it’s an impossibility’.

But Mrs Bye was left baffled and angrier still when she called the hospital to demand answers.

She said: "The doctor said he had cleaned up my mum’s foot. I said ‘what do you mean , she didn’t come in with a foot problem, you have got no right sending her home and saying take a few more tablets and she will be all right. That taxi driver has just dropped her off and driven off. She had no key, nothing.

"She has gone in with severe back pain and mood swings are up and down.

"He couldn’t stop apologising, but I said 'I’m not accepting your apology, I’m taking this further.'

“I admit I was furious, but I couldn’t help it. I said I want to make a complaint, I can’t believe you have discharged by mum and have put her in a taxi.

"She was in her pyjamas and slippers, because when the ambulance crew came she was in bed. She was wearing a coat when she came out, but was still in her pyjamas and slippers."

Mrs Bye, of St Matthew's Terrace, Halliwell, says she believes the care her mother, who is also a grandmother of six, received fell short of an acceptable standard.

“I think they have failed," she said. "He has said to me he is cleaning my mum’s foot. She didn’t go in with a foot problem and that’s negligence."

Describing the confusion and disorientation her mother suffers due to her condition, Mrs Bye said: "If she goes outside to look in the back garden, she can't open the back door again, even if she has the key.

“If you talk to her about what happened yesterday, she can’t remember a thing — it's just the thought of her going from the hospital in Farnworth to Halliwell with a bag of medication."

Mrs Bye was also unhappy that paramedics were initially reluctant to take her mother to hospital, only relenting when they spoke to her social worker over the them over the phone.

The incident has also been distressing for Mrs Myerscough's 81-year-old husband, Ernest, who suffers from epilepsy. He is currently staying with his other daughter, Deborah, in Tonge Moor.

Mrs Byers said: “My dad is shocked that they have just sent her home in a taxi like that. With my dad not being well he is in bed, but she had to tell him, no matter what, and he has just jumped up in bed.”

Mrs Myerscough now being cared for at home by Mrs Byers. Says she is beginning to recover from her ordeal.

Heather Edwards, head of communications at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Our protocol is that we instruct the taxi driver to ensure that the patient is not left outside their home, but seen to enter safely.

"We are not clear what happened in this particular case and would ask Mrs Bye to get in touch with our patient advice and liaison service (PALS) so we can discuss it further."

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “We always aim to provide the best possible care and we wholeheartedly apologise if Mrs Myerscough and her family do not feel that this was given.

"We would like to pass on our warmest regards to Mrs Myerscough, and would welcome her family to contact our Patient Experience Team if they would like to discuss this any further.”