THE devastated widow of an Andover man found dead beside a car park while in respite care has spoken out after an NHS report found a staff member at his hospice took a double break on the night he died.

Seventy-six-year-old Michael Curtis was found dead on March 17 2020 near to Countess of Brecknock Hospice after staff failed in their duty of care.

Following an investigation, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has now admitted a breach of duty and accepts a failure to ensure Michael was “appropriately monitored and kept safe during his time at the hospice.”

Penny, who was married to Michael for 56 years, said: “I think about him every single day. When he was diagnosed with cancer a number of years ago we were absolutely devastated but it was being monitored and managed well. We were in no way prepared to lose him in the way we did. Michael had suffered from a complex medical history that included more than just his cancer.

“Michael went into the hospice for some respite care; I didn’t think for one minute he wouldn’t be coming out. He was a real fighter. We were looking forward to becoming husband and wife again, rather than just patient and carer. We never got that chance.”

Recalling the circumstances of the dreadful night, Penny continued: “His feet were swaddled at the time, which made mobility very difficult, and when he was found, he had covered a fair distance with no walking aid which must have been very tough on him. It was also frosty outside and he was in his pyjamas.”

She added: “I would give anything to turn back the clock and see Michael one last time, but I know that’s not possible. All I can hope for now is that by sharing our story, I can make others aware of how confusion can potentially affect someone. I wouldn’t want anyone else going through what I have.”