Stranded Sunderland gran back home after insurance wrangle left her stuck in Spanish hospital

Mary Metcalfe, back home after her holiday ordeal

Mary Metcalfe, back home after her holiday ordeal

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A PENSIONER is finally home after waiting nearly a month to be discharged from a Spanish Hospital.

Mary Metcalfe said today she was “over the moon” to be back in her East Herrington home.

The 76-year-old was flown back to Newcastle International Airport by her insurance company Staysure with a nurse yesterday, after spending more than three weeks in Palmaplanas Hospital in Palma, Majorca.

The widow fell down stairs on the second day of her holiday on June 8 in the resort of Deià, about 45 minutes away from Palma, where she has visited for the past 30 years.

Mary, whose husband Ronnie died in April last year aged 78, broke her hip and pelvis, and needed surgery.

After being given the all-clear, she waited for weeks for Staysure to process her claim and tell doctors she could be discharged.

The insurance company insisted she was always due to travel home yesterday, but admitted they did not tell Mrs Metcalfe until Tuesday.

“All I wanted was to be home,” said the former nurse.

“I just went out there for a holiday, and ended up being in the hospital for nearly a month.

“The hotel was fantastic – staff know me because I’ve been going for so long.

“They got a doctor for me straight away and sent me to the hospital, and I got my operation the same day.

“But I wouldn’t use the insurance company again – I tried everything to get in touch with them, but it was very difficult.”

Mary, who has no immediate family, relied on the help of friends back in England in her battle to return home.

Neighbour Simon Greaves, and his wife Helen, kept in touch with her, and battled to get her back.

Simon, a writer, said: “She is a 77-year-old lady who found it very distressing. We have had to get a doctor and nursing support for her. If you saw Mary before and you could see her now, you would get a shock.”

Mary said she was grateful for all the support she has had.

“I think of Simon and Helen (Simon’s wife) as my children,” she said. “I have had a lot of support from them and my other neighbours, and thanks to the Echo for highlighting my plight.

“I’m so relieved to be back in my own house.”

A spokeswoman for Staysure said: “Our expert assistance team was in constant dialogue with her medical team as to when it would be safe for her to travel home.

“Arranging an international flight with space to accommodate a medical team invariably creates some logistical complexity, and it’s crucial to wait until it’s medically safe for the customer to travel, but we were able to confirm on Tuesday of this week that Mrs Metcalfe would return back to the North East on Thursday, along with a medical escort to attend to her on the flight. We’re delighted that she is now safely back at home and wish her the very best for her continued recovery.”