Neil Archer, 69, of Flitwick, had gone down the usual route of seeing his GP but it quickly became clear there was going to be no speedy solution.
He said he believed the offer of physio was a “complete waste of time and precious money wasted on the NHS when the only course of treatment was surgery”.
And it soon became apparent going through the private sector was his only option – but even that left Neil “distraught, angry and trapped”.
He said: “One hospital did not even ring back. The general impression was the patient is nothing but a cash cow and some were just making up the numbers with no-one giving a final figure
“I was being quoted £15,000-£17,000 for approximately two days in hospital with no costs for all the follow-up treatments that would be required.”
That’s when Neil explored having the surgery done abroad.
He said: “I contacted Nordorthopaedics Clinic in Kaunas [in Lithuania], emailed them my X-ray report and over the course of the next two days had filled in a medical questionnaire, booked flights for April 30 and was scheduled for the operation on May 2.”
And the total cost of the trip – everything included? £7,605.
Frustrated, Neil said: “Why can we not advise patients to look into this way forward which will also save them thousands?”
Amazingly, he had the hip replacement operation SEVEN DAYS from the initial inquiry.
Neil added: “I spent two nights in hospital and then was transferred to UPA, a medical spa clinic, which was situated in a beautiful place in the countryside around two hours drive from Kaunas – travel logistics were all done by Nord.
“I received three buffet meals a day and could socialise with the other patients who came from Canada, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England and of course other Baltic states.
“I spent a week in rehab and today I am walking unaided once up on my feet, I have already had the staples removed and feel very fit for the trauma of the last few weeks.”
However, the experience has left Neil with mixed emotions.
He said: “The experience was brilliant, the care unbelievable, the expertise in the surgery on par with anywhere in the world – but also with a sense of guilt that I have had the surgery whilst others are not so lucky.”
But he’s hoping by telling his story, it might help others and “release them from pain and suffering”.
He added: “I am a living testament to that.”
>Tens of thousands of patients were waiting for routine treatment at Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust.
NHS England figures show 75,763 patients were waiting for non-urgent elective operations or treatment at the end of April – up from 74,616 in March, and 50,545 in April 2021.
Of those, 2,732 (4%) had been waiting for longer than a year.
17,852 patients were waiting for one of 13 standard tests, such as an MRI scan, non-obstetric ultrasound or gastroscopy – 6,211 (35%) had been waiting for at least six weeks.