Carryduff pensioner went to Dublin for hip replacement under EU scheme
PENSIONER Myles Magowan lived for his weekly coastal walks with two best friends where they "put the world to rights".
But following a stroll two years ago the retired psychologist (68) from Carryduff took a serious pain in his hip that wouldn't go away.
A GP prescribed steroids and painkillers but Mr Magowan spent a further year on a waiting list to see an orthopaedic consultant.
"The pain got progressively worse and I had to stop my big walks with my friends, which I really missed. The three of us were like Last of the Summer Wine and I loved seeing them," he said.
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"The consultant told me I needed a double hip replacement and would be three to four years on the waiting list.
"I knew I couldn't stick three more years of this pain and did a bit of research after I learned about an EU scheme where you paid money up front to have the operation outside Northern Ireland and were then reimbursed."
The pensioner was deemed eligible for the scheme and within 24 hours of making a telephone call in August he had an appointment at the Mater private hospital in Dublin.
He had his hip replacement six weeks ago and is "up and about". While praising the care he received, he warned he was still out a "substantial amount" of money.
Mr Magowan had to pay €15,000 to the Mater prior to his hip replacement.
The Health and Social Care Board provide £6,377 towards the cost of surgery – which he is still waiting on.
However, the Carryduff man said the cost of travelling to the Republic is still "significantly less" than the cost of a hip replacment in a private clinic in Northern Ireland – for which he was quoted £12,000.
"I was lucky in that I had savings put aside but it is still a lot of money for pensioners to borrow. I had no quality of life and I want to enjoy the remainder of my life."
Mr Magowan is travelling back to the Dublin clinic in January to have a consultation about getting his second hip replaced.