Nigel Farage has claimed the NHS almost killed him when he was misdiagnosed with an infection which actually turned out to be testicular cancer nearly 30 years ago.
In extracts published by The Telegraph from his forthcoming book, The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything, the Ukip leader encourages anyone who can afford to pay for private health care to do so, warning: “The NHS is so over-stretched that if you can afford private health care, you should take it, particularly for diagnostics and preventative medicine.”
He claims a cancerous tumour was missed by a series of NHS doctors when he was 21, who first concluded he had a twisted testicle.
Farage said this process of misdiagnosis continued when an “Indian doctor” incorrectly told him the source of his pain was actually an infection and prescribed antibiotics, a diagnosis his GP also agreed with six weeks later. “'Keep taking the antibiotics,' he preached, and that was that."
The 50-year-old says he was eventually forced to visit a private GP when the pain became so severe he had difficulty walking and was left with a testicle “as large as a lemon and rock hard”.
It was this doctor, he says, that referred him for scan and discovered the tumour in his testicle.
Ukip's confusing policies
Ukip's confusing policies
1/6 Deport migrants
Ukip MP Mark Reckless suggested he would deport existing EU migrants, a policy Nigel Farage rejected out of hand.
2/6 US-style NHS
Farage was caught on film in 2012 saying healthcare headed towards insurance-based system, though he has since said he would keep it free at the point of use.
3/6 Handbag tax
Ukip Economy spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said he would introduce a tax on high-price items like shoes, Nigel Farage disowned this idea.
4/6 Same-sex couple adoption
Ukip candidate Winston McKenzie likened adoption by same-sex couples to "child abuse", but the party rejects that view.
5/6 Gay marriage?
In early 2014 Ukip released a statement saying it would review its gay marriage policy, but later said that was an error.
6/6 Sex education u-turn
Nigel Farage told Leaders Live that he backed sex education for under-11s but later admitted that is not Ukip policy.
Farage later underwent an operation to have the testicle removed, a process he joked was not something he was all too pleased about. “It doesn’t matter how much people tell you that you have a surplus with two, I certainly didn’t want one of them removed.”
He continued: “It was astonishing. For the best part of two months I had been fobbed off by one NHS doctor to the next — apart from my own GP, all the rest thought I had nothing more serious than a common cold.
“All they had had to do that first night in A&E was to have me referred for a scan. I remember feeling the most profound sense of fury, that my cancer was just so unfair.”
He argued his three close brushes with death throughout his life make him better qualified to criticise the NHS than other politicians.
Farage also said that the the health service has on other occasions saved his life.
"I have now had three near-death experiences - cancer, an accident and a plane crash - and I've seen the best and worst of the NHS,” he wrote.
"When I had cancer, the incompetence and negligence of the NHS almost killed me, but it has also saved my life. I am certainly not taking any flak from gutless politicians who claim that I am no fan or supporter of the NHS."
A combination of these accidents and a serious car crash left him with the body of a 70-year-old, he added.Reuse content