9 Mar, 2012 @ 12:55
1 min read

British pensioner forced to return to UK for knee op

EXCLUSIVE by Eloise Horsfield

A BRITISH pensioner is being forced to return to the UK for knee surgery after waiting almost a year in Spain.

Ian Dennis, 74, who lives in Casarabonela, has no cartilage between the lower and upper part of his leg and cannot walk without the aid of crutches.

He was told by specialists in April 2011 he needed a double knee replacement, and was assured he would be seen within six months at the Virgen de la Victoria Hospital in Malaga.

Nine months later however, in January 2012, Belfast-born Dennis was still waiting – and to his horror was told his op would be delayed by another six to nine months.

“It’s so frustrating,” said Dennis, who can only sleep dosed up on painkillers.

“After all that time waiting, they said it is going to be at least another six months.”

Dennis, who previously worked as a senior supervisor for Swedish ball-bearing manufacturer SKF in Luton, has decided to go to England where the NHS have told him he will be operated on within four months.

“Imagine, after all this time, I could have gone back to the UK at the start and had the operation long ago.

“It’s so unfair – I pay taxes here as well as in the UK,” explained Dennis, who moved to Spain 10 years ago.

“I can’t help thinking I’ve been pushed to the back of the queue because I’m English,” he added.

When the Olive Press contacted the Virgen de la Victoria Hospital, a spokesman struggled to locate Dennis’ records despite being provided with his name, NIE number and date of birth.

When pushed, the hospital found Dennis’ file and insisted his knee surgery would be scheduled within a month.

Eloise Horsfield

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: [email protected] or call 951 273 575


  1. you say that he pays taxes here, but with a double taxation agreement presumably the uk gets the benefit of most of his tax apart from a little IBI etc-otherwise why would the NHS still take him on unless he has UK residence. In which case was his op to be done through an E111 here? This story which is critical of Spanish medical treatment seems a rather incomplete piece of journalism…… Maybe the real story is a little less colourful.

  2. Reverse the scenario, Spanish, middle-aged agricultural worker in the U.K. Needs new knees. Joints knackered from work done in U.K. Claims treatment. Cue red-top outrage and knee jerk frothing from Little Englanders. What goes round comes round..

  3. Stefan

    What goes around comes around? The truth of it is that if the situation was reversed, the Spaniard would receive the appropriate treatment within the maximum waiting period.

    However if it was an illegal immigrant or someone from a country who is not a member of the EU and therefore subject to reciprocal agreements concerning medical care…..YES many Brits would be annoyed and quite rightly so!

    However, after an appeal to the ECHR I’m sure said immigrant would still get his operation plus luxury accommodation and benefits as per the UK’s policy of looking after foreigners better than their own people.

  4. We live close to Baza in Spain and seven minutes from Baza Hospital, my wife is Dutch and I am English. I had my whole lift knee replaced just within six months,

    I also have had a prostate operation within the time they told me, both operations one hundred percent.

    My wife had a cataract operation on her eye within the time they told us; one hundred percent successful also regularly monitored for back pain and do what is necessary. Because of our age we are monitored each year for our health.

    I am a little diabetic and prescribed two tablets a day by our doctor.

    We had our own business which we ran from England and paid everything there including the NHS but 90% of the time we worked in other countries.

    The big problem people have especially the British they can never fully let go of the line back to what they call (Home). Our home is where we make it.

    Don’t come to Spain if you have to work, it is cheaper to living here but you still need money. My wife and daughter (Who does not live with us) are the linguist in our family but I can order a cup of coffee and pay the bill other than that I use hands and feet “If you know what I mean”

    Forgot to tell you at the age of 24 I was diagnosed as 70% Dyslexic. The invention of the computer has made it possible to write this note.

  5. Stefanjo: I merely want the same benefits extended to me in Spain and the rest of Europe that the UK freely gives to members of the EU (and plenty of other countries too in case you’re not aware of that fact)

    If that makes me a “Little Englander” then I guess I’m guilty!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

My flamenco faux pas

Next Story

German arrested for violent lawyer death in Malaga

Latest from Health

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press