An occupational therapy assistant who had her leg amputated after falling twice at a hospital has been paid £600,000 in compensation by County Durham health authority.

The payout was made 13 years after Alison Hockaday, 34, slipped on wet leaves at the entrance to Winterton Hospital, Durham. In March 1990 she slipped on wet vinyl flooring in the same hospital.

Her employment was ended because of her injuries in 1992.

Her right leg was amputated below the knee in May 1997.

The then South West Durham HA contested liability for the first incident, but judgement was given in Ms Hockaday's favour in 1997. Judgement was obtained in her favour for the second incident last week when the defendant failed to file a defence.

County Durham HA made an offer to settle out of court.

Unison deputy general secretary Dave Prentis said: 'It is appalling that Alison had to wait 13 years to get compensation.

We won't hesitate to take similar action for other members injured as a result of accidents at work.'

In a statement, County Durham HA said: 'We are sure that the managers at the time will have taken on board any lessons learned from the incident. The hospital is now closed.'