A 75-year-old man was forced to spend his life savings on a vital hip operation after the NHS cancelled his appointments four times.
Edward Crane claims he has nothing left after clearing out his bank account for the £9000 private surgery after waiting more than six months for a consultation at his local hospital.
The pensioner, from Rainham, Essex, said he felt he had "no choice" but to shell out the cash after suffering months of agony.
Mr Crane was told he needed a hip replacement in February this year and was referred to Queen's Hospital in Romford.
But after three consecutive consultations were cancelled, the desperate pensioner looked into paying for the operation himself and discovered it would cost him £8,750.
After the fourth cancellation, he used two insurance policies and pooled his life savings to pay for the operation he needed to end the pain. He had the surgery four days later.
I'm sure the British didn't set their system up to operate this way, but this is how it works. There's no incentive to improve.
Besides, government has done such a bang-up job solving all of society's other social ills, we may as well give it a crack at solving the so-called health care crisis as well.