Devoted Mexborough dad tells of ‘year from hell’

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A heartbroken husband has told how he could not afford to bury his late wife after a “year from hell” left him almost penniless.

Devoted hubby Michael Wood spent around £19, 000 to be at the side of his beloved partner Moira as she spent a year battling serious health problems in hospitals hundreds of miles away.

Moira Wood in hospital.

Moira Wood in hospital.

The maintenance worker told how battles to get financial help from “Government bureaucrats” during his partner’s decline have left him in tatters.

The father-of-three said he had no choice but to sell his wife’s jewellery just to make sure he could continue to see her before her death in June. He now says he could not afford to pay for her burial this week and has had to opt for a cremation at a lower cost.

The 54-year-old, of Stentons Terrace, Mexborough, said: “It has been a year from hell. Both of us have worked all of our lives and paid taxes. Then in our hour of need, no-one wanted to know.

“She wanted to be buried but it costs around £1500 less for cremation. That’s all I can afford.”

Moira, 50, was diagnosed with a bowel clot in April last year. She had an operation at London’s Northwick Park Hospital but was transferred to Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital when the organ failed. She had a bowel, liver and pancreas transplant last November but failed to fully recover and died on June 24.

Mr Wood said the couple’s money went on paying for him to stay in hospital accommodation in Cambridge and London at about £30 a night so he could support her. Other fees, like travel costs and home bills, all mounted up.

While he received a carer’s allowance, Mr Wood added that he has been embroiled in a long running battle for additional payments from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and healthcare agency Atos.

Mr Wood said he was finally paid the allowance last week after eight months of repeated phone calls.

He said: “They said Moira needed a medical before they could pay out, but there was a backlog for appointments. They have paid up but it all left me exhausted. Carers should be given more help with things like paying for hospital accommodation.”

Atos, the DWP and health services all expressed their sympathy this week.

A spokesperson for Atos said patients do have to see one of their medical teams but they are seen “as swiftly as possible.”

Both Northwick Park and Addenbrooke’s hospitals said people can stay in accommodation on site but they are “not able to fund patient relative accommodation.”

They added a weekly concessionary parking rate is available to visitors and proceeds are pumped back into improving care services at the hospitals.

A spokesperson for the DWP said the outstanding benefits payment had been issued and added: “Our thoughts are with Mr Wood’s family.”