A GRANDMOTHER living in sheltered housing was hospitalised after being left without central heating for three months.

Karen Mitchell, 66, from Timberscombe, who suffers from chronic lung disease and fibromyalgia, said she was left to fight a losing battle against mould and cold which she believes may have resulted in her being rushed to hospital with pneumonia.

Ms Mitchell’s central heating failed in November. Her landlord, Magna Housing, did not restore the service until February 9 - before it failed again later that month. She and husband John resorted to crowding around their oven for heat as temperatures reached -8C in Exmoor over winter.

In December, Ms Mitchell complained to Magna about the mould, but says she was told to clean it off herself. Despite her best efforts, Ms Mitchell said the mould returned and felt dizzy and unwell after trying to tackle it herself.

By April Ms Mitchell had been living with the mould for several months. She said: “I caught a cold with a horrible cough, but I insisted on keeping going. But I went to bed and woke up at 6am shivering. I don’t really remember a lot after that.”

Ms Mitchell was taken by ambulance to hospital, where she remained for four days after being diagnosed with pneumonia. The illness left her “feeling dreadful” and with a blood pressure reading so low she would “collapse” if she attempted to stand up.

It wasn’t until after she was discharged from hospital that Magna contractors arrived at the property, in May, to remove the mould which had been complained of six months earlier. Ms Mitchell, who says she still hasn’t fully recovered, believes the cold and mould contributed to her deteriorating health.

The couple pay Magna almost £700 a month in rent and service charges for the supported living bungalow.

She said: “Nobody came to see me for two weeks when I returned home. It made me so angry while I was in hospital, nobody came out to see my husband either. He was in Northern Ireland and the Falklands and suffers with PTSD, he needed to see someone, he needed somebody here.”

Ms Mitchell said the illness had lasted effects: “It has really knocked my confidence. I get a bit of pain in my chest and I am frightened. I dare say anyone who had pneumonia feels like that.”

A spokesperson for Magna said Ms Mitchell was supplied with temporary heating.

Magna said: “We are really sorry that Mrs Mitchell has been unwell. 

“We supplied Mr and Mrs Mitchell with temporary heaters while we were trying to repair their heating, to ensure they had heating in their home. Unfortunately, we were unable to fix the existing system, so we installed a brand new central heating system in February and have visited to confirm that it is working.

“We are currently processing a complaint in line with our policies. In addition to our weekly welfare checks for sheltered housing customers, we have remained in regular contact with the family to support them with their needs."