A health body has defended its treatment of a disabled woman who was living in England but wanted to be cared for in her native Columbia.

It comes after a judge said the woman had been kept “unnecessarily miserable against her will” by social service bosses.

The woman, who is in her 50s, suffered a cardiac arrest more than four years ago while in England and was left with brain damage.

Mr Justice Newton was critical of the time it took for the woman to be moved home, which ended up costing the taxpayer £100,000 per year.

She had wanted to be cared for in Colombia since 2014, but had not moved back until early 2018 because of “disorganised, muddled and unfocused decision-making, and what has at times verged on an arrogance,” he said.

But a Lambeth Clinical Care Commissioning Group spokesperson said the woman’s repatriation was “complex.”

“Colombia does not have a publicly funded health system and the care she needed is more complex than her family are able to provide. She now resides in a specialist nursing home after strenuous efforts were made to ensure the care she would get in Colombia was suitable and close to her family, as they requested,” they said.

“We acknowledge that repatriating this very disabled woman did take an extended period, however this was a complex case and the long-term welfare of the patient was central to any decisions that were made. The CCG was in contact with the Colombian consulate throughout. The Colombian Ambassador has subsequently written to the British Government thanking the NHS for the care she received.”

The woman’s family were “extremely grateful” for the care she received, and it was “disappointing the judge…has chosen to criticise our conduct,” the spokesperson said.

They said there were a number of barriers to moving her home sooner, including needing am air ambulance and high-specification wheel chair, which her family could not afford.

“The CCG and council needed to ensure that she was moving to care appropriate to her needs in Colombia.

“The CCG also sourced and funded health insurance and underwrote the costs of uninsured emergency treatment in case the plane had to land if P deteriorated en route. We took the view that the cost was justified to get the right outcome for P and that this was offset by no longer paying for a high cost residential healthcare placement locally,” they added.