Op row pensioner's NHS vow

By Lisa CleverdonA PENSIONER has vowed he would “never bother with the National Health Service again” after returning home from successful surgery in a German hospital.

By Lisa Cleverdon

A PENSIONER has vowed he would “never bother with the National Health Service again” after returning home from successful surgery in a German hospital.

Geoffrey Horne, 82, was forced to dip into his savings and spend more than £800 for a hernia operation in Berlin after a health trust said he faced a wait of up to nine months for surgery in England.

But the great-grandfather touched down on home soil yesterday with a smile on his face after his operation on Monday in the Ambulantes Operationszentrum private clinic.

Back at his home in Bures, the veteran RAF air gunner could barely believe he had even had an operation and said he would recommend foreign surgery to anyone.

“I feel as though nothing has been done and I am really surprised at how good I feel,” he added.

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“All the staff at the hospital were marvellous and I think the trip was definitely worth it.

“I think more people should take advantage of German medicine and I think our Government could learn a lot from the way things are done in other countries.”

Mr Horne said he was thrilled to be back home with Dorothy, his wife of 29 years, after the two-day trip and was looking forward to getting his life back to normal.

The active pensioner has been a member of a gym for 10 years, but was unable to attend after being diagnosed with a hernia.

“I have always kept very fit and the surgeon told me I can get back to the gym within five of six weeks, which is great news,” he said.

Mr Horne made headlines across the country after Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust said he would not be able to have the hernia operation at Colchester General Hospital until well into next year.

Surgery at a private hospital in Britain would also have cost him several thousands of pounds, so he opted to have the operation abroad instead.

He said: “I hope that I never have to go back to hospital, but if I do, I wouldn't even consider having anything done on the NHS and I would go back to Germany instead.

“I am completely staggered at how speedy my recovery was and I feel absolutely great.”

Mr Horne added: “Germany was a long way to go for an operation that I should have been able to get at home, but the care I received was amazing and I couldn't have wished for better treatment.

“I think our Government needs to take a close look at the service they are offering people in our country because if not, I think more and more people will start to go abroad for treatment.”

lisa.cleverdon@eadt.co.uk

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