A "vibrant" 86-year-old woman has tragically died weeks after she fell on an escalator while shopping in Liverpool city centre.

Bernice Whitehead's family claims she then received substandard care at Royal Liverpool Hospital that may have contributed to her death.

The grandmother was first admitted to hospital three weeks ago, after she fell on an escalator and banged her head while out shopping with a friend in St Johns Precinct.

The results of an X-ray showed that Bernice had broken two bones in her neck during the fall, but she did not lose her mobility completely, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The 86-year-old fell on an escalator and banged her head while out shopping with a friend

Describing her Nan as a "fighter", granddaughter Kimberly Holder said they "knew the road to recovery wasn't going to be easy", but with the help of physiotherapy Bernice started to mobilise and there was discussion of her being discharged home.

However, after she contracted a water infection followed by a chest infection in hospital, Bernice's condition began to deteriorate and her family were told she had days left to live.

Bernice tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday, after a patient on the same ward contracted the virus.

She sadly died in hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Kimberly and her family claim there were shortfalls in Bernice's care and that neglect from hospital staff may have contributed to her death.

Bernice's family claim neglect from hospital staff may have contributed to her death

A formal investigation has now been launched by Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Kimberly, 36, told the Liverpool Echo: "Nan was a vibrant, dignified lady that had lived through and survived a war.

"What she and the whole family have suffered is cruel and worst of all avoidable. The outcome for Nan may have always been her passing away but she did not deserve to go in this way."

Paying tribute, Kimberly described her Nan as "a young soul trapped in an old lady's body".

She said: "She was good for her age. She had a young personality.

"No one had a bad word to say about her. If you were on her good side then you were fine, but if not she was a force to be reckoned with.

Bernice was out with a friend when she fell on an escalator and hit her head

"We lost our granddad a year ago. She's spent the last year trying to get her life back on track.

"When we went into lockdown in March she was locked down on her own."

On the day of the incident Kimberly said: "She had gone out with a friend in town do some shopping and she had a terrible accident.

"She had a fall on an escalator at St John's Precinct and banged her head with enough force to fracture her neck."

Kimberly added: "She's the glue that held the whole family together. Life will not be the same without her."

Dianne Brown, Chief Nurse at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I have spoken with Bernice's family to offer my sincere condolences.

"Providing safe, effective and compassionate care is our top priority and we are currently reviewing all aspects of Bernice's care to understand if we have fallen short in any of these areas.

"We will keep the family involved at every stage of this process."