Simon Would Be Dead If He Couldn't Get £100,000 For A Liver Operation

11 September 2017, 11:57 | Updated: 11 September 2017, 12:00

The NHS couldn't treat Simon's cancer quickly enough, so his brother-in-law gave him £100,000.

NHS waiting times have led to a 15 to 25 per cent rise in ‘self-payers’, as patients resort to using savings or loans to finance medical treatment, a report by Intuition Communications has found.

Simon called James O'Brien to detail his experience with one of the best liver surgeons in the country, who told him that without £100,000 it was likely he would die.

Fortunately Simon's brother-in-law was able to give him the six-figure sum.

James O'Brien said we hadn't noticed the increasing shortfall in NHS care
James O'Brien said we hadn't noticed the increasing shortfall in NHS care. Picture: LBC

James O'Brien said: "We'll all remember Simon's call. The idea that he would be dead if he couldn't lay his hands on £100,000 at very short notice.

"It's funny when I talk about my daughter's dentist. It's not life and death stuff.

"But say you need to see the orthodontist, the orthodontist emails you back 'we can se you next week if you're a private patient, if you're NHS it's 13 months.'

"But it's buck teeth or whatever it is.

"It's not the same as having one of the best consultants in the country standing at the end of your bed and saying:

'I could do it for you in two or three months, but there's no guarantee that you'll be here. there's a very strong chance you'll be dead. And by the way if I do it on the NHS I could be called away at any moment because I'm at the top of the list of consultants who do transplants and transplants obviously supersede everything else but, old boy...'

"And this is no criticism of the consultant, you work with what you've got.

'... but if you get your hands on £100,000 I'll do it for you on Tuesday, uninterrupted.'

"And I know that it is naive to believe that everybody can be treated equally. I think that that holds back liberal politics.

"It's all about the size of the gap, isn't it? Whether you're talking about wages and pay restraints or waiting lists and medical costs.

"If it's a couple of grand and saves you a couple of months, I can see the inevitability. It's a market force.

"But what's happened without us really clocking it is the gaps have got huge and the sums of money have grown exponentially.

"Now your life, it's got nothing to do with buck teeth, your life could depend on how quickly you could raise a six figure sum of money."

Watch the full moving clip above.