By Sam Blanchard Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 12:40 GMT, 1 March 2019 | Updated: 12:41 GMT, 1 March 2019
A man travelled to Lithuania and paid £6,000 to have his hip replaced because he was afraid he would die waiting for the NHS to get round to it.
Peter Gaillard, 86, was told he could have to wait 80 weeks (a year and seven months) to have the surgery near his home in Wales.
Instead of shelling out for private surgery in the UK he flew to the Baltic nation and had the life-changing op for half the price – and the NHS paid for it.
Mr Gaillard, from Gwynedd in North Wales, went on the 10-day round trip in October last year and says the results are 'extraordinarily good'.
Peter Gaillard, 86, travelled to Lithuania for a hip replacement after being told by the NHS in Wales he could have to wait more than 18 months to have the surgery in his home country
After having his right hip replaced in the UK in 2004, Mr Gaillard noticed the same problem brewing in his left leg last year, the Daily Post Wales reported.
But the NHS board near his home – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – told him he might have to wait more than a year for the operation.
'I did not feel at my age I could hang around for what might have been two years with everything getting worse,' Mr Gaillard said.
'I want to make the most out of the rest of my life as I can.
'After hunting hard I found it was possible to have the operation in Lithuania for £6,000 as opposed to paying £12,000 privately in this country.
'I thought it through long and hard and decided to book the appointment and the travel.'
He made the 1,500 mile trip and had the operation on October 8 last year, and only needed to rest for 10 days before he could return home.
Figures revealed in October that the NHS waiting list was the longest it had been for 11 years, with 4.1million people – around six per cent of the population – on it.
At the time more than 3,000 people had been waiting for more than a year to be seen, while one in 10 have to wait at least four-and-a-half months.
When Mr Gaillard returned home he was pleased to discover he could claim the £6,000 surgery cost back