'We flew into Frankfurt and were treated like royalty. The next day I had my operation'


The triple bypass

William Budge, 82, retired farmer from Barnstaple, North Devon

I had severe pain in my right arm a couple of years ago. Doctors first said it was just arthritis. But when I then had severe pain across my chest, I was told that I needed a triple bypass. I was told that I needed to have it within three months, or else I wouldn't survive. At the same time, I was told the waiting list was a minimum of six months. In effect, I was condemned to die. After a chance meeting with a lady in a hospital car park, I was told that I could get the operation done overseas. Very soon, I arranged to have it done in Germany. We flew into Frankfurt, were met by a hospital liaison officer and were treated like royalty. The very next day I had my operation. The German doctors said they wouldn't accept the British doctor's diagnosis, and said that in fact it was a lot moreserious and urgent than I had been told. After the operation, I had to stay in the hospital for a few weeks to aid my recovery, my age was a factor in this. Overall my treatment in the hospital was just brilliant: the cleanliness was unbelievable, the staff were polite, and the actual medical treatment was effective. In England I was told that the operation would cost a minimum of 20,000, but could cost up to 40,000. The whole package for treatment in Germany cost only 15,000. I'd recommend the overseas treatment to anyone.

The hip

Ronald Burlingham, 76, retired teacher from Southampton

Half way through last year, I realised my hip was simply worn out from years of jogging on hard surfaces. I had been limping about, so went to my doctor for an X-ray and diagnosis.

Initially I explored NHS options and was told it would be three or four months before a consultant could see me, let alone put me on a waiting list. But my wife and I thought to ourselves, we're not getting any younger, and should therefore look at private health care something we'd have never considered before.

I soon discovered a company called Direct Healthcare International. They were polite and helpful, giving me a lot of information about where I could go and what I could do. They recommended particular places based in a number of countries, based on their record of success, and showed me the CVs of the doctors who would treat me.

I flew to Brussels, had a totally successful operation, and the whole package, including flights and accommodation, cost me 7,000. In the UK, the operation alone would have cost 10,000. What's more I was given a week of physio in Brussels, and my wife was allowed to accompany me throughout. The thought of private health care was anathema to me for a long time. But when you're forced into it, and you're then thinking about whether or not to stay in the UK, if you're saving 3,000 then the argument is over before it's even begun.

Direct Healthcare International were so good they even rang me up to tell me they'd overcharged me for my flight to Brussels, and sent me a case of wine in recompense.

Dental work

Lynne Huckins, 56, Community Support Officer, Portland, Dorset

I had major trouble with my gums, and my dentist said he would have to take all my teeth out. I was quoted figures ranging between 10,000 and 15,000.

On the internet, I read about Vital Europe, the firm I eventually went to Hungary with. They said I could have a 50 consultation in Harley Street to diagnose my gums, but I'd get the 50 back if I had the treatment.

The consultation, unlike the NHS, was very positive: I was told caps and bridges would do the trick. I was given a dental plan, paid 6,000, and went to Hungary twice; first for 10 days and then, six months later, for a fortnight. I was given a personal co-ordinator, and the cost covered all travel, hotel bookings, and transport.

The end result is absolutely fantastic. My health and peace of mind has improved massively. I don't blame the NHS for not treating me, because they haven't got the funds. But for anyone going private, I'd say look overseas first.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

    Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

    £10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

    £17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Ashdown Group: Automated Tester / Test Analyst - .Net / SQL - Cheshire

    £32000 per annum + pension, healthcare & 23 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A gro...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot