2 Aug, 2012 @ 09:00
1 min read

Expat waits over seven months for ‘urgent’ bypass surgery in Spain

russian roulette

EXCLUSIVE by Rund Abdelfatah

A SCOTTISH expat who suffered a heart attack seven months ago is still waiting for the bypass surgery he should have received within days of the attack.

Wynne Donnelly, 66, was rushed to Ronda Hospital in December 2011 after suffering a heart attack. He was later transferred to Malaga’s Virgen de la Victoria Hospital after doctors realised he needed a bypass operation.

Initially, doctors classified the surgery as urgent and planned it for the next two to three days, but Donnelly’s allergy to aspirin postponed the process.

When his condition did not worsen, doctors sent Donnelly home without clarifying when he would receive the operation.

Soon after, he received a letter from the hospital indicating he would have the surgery within six months.

It has now been seven months.

“The hospital still has us on the waiting list,” Donnelly’s wife, Linda, told the Olive Press.

“Aside from a check-up which we requested, the hospital has not been in touch with us.”

Concerned about her husband’s deteriorating situation – characterised by severe fatigue and bouts of intense dizziness– she took him to a general practitioner in Ronda for a professional opinion.

“He told us the hospital is playing Russian roulette with his life,” added Donnelly.  “He needs an operation soon.”

When the Olive Press contacted the hospital, a spokesman said: “For most patients awaiting surgery we cannot realistically predict the date of the operation.”


  1. @Tony. Possible but then again the bean counters are probably weighing up just what exactly these lovely people have contributed to the Spanish healthcare system over their working lives. Perhaps the SNP will foot the bill?

  2. Ben, you have a point but I suspect there are other factors to take into account. Such as cuts in public spending.

    There is a reciprocal agreement that stems from EU membership. Just as Spanish people can obtain health treatment in the UK, British residents can get the same treatment here provided they meet all the necessary requirements.

    However, the OP article doesn´t explain if Mr D. is entitled to free health care here or not. It simply says that he is an “expat” (how I hate that term) and that he is 66 years old.

    Nonetheless, I think the hospital spokesperson´s words say a lot about this sad case: “For most patients awaiting surgery we cannot realistically predict the date of the operation.”

    And that, according to the OP today, is about to get worse.

  3. @Ben Doesn’t really matter what the bean counters in Spain say, if the gent in question has informed the appropriate authorities in the UK that he is permanently resident in Spain and has registered with the Spanish Health Service as a pensioner the UK government pays annually three thousand five hundred Euro’s per individual towards their healthcare costs in Spain. A bypass probably costs a whole lot more than this but it is averaged out across all UK pensioners. My wife and I barely use the Spanish Health system as thankfully we are in fairly good health but the Spanish government will continue to receive the seven thousand Euro’s regardless of how much or little we use it.

  4. In reply to Ben, comments 1my husband is entitled to health care under the Spanish health. Service 2 Having lived hear for 8 year and never used the service Spanish health service has recieved 28000euros from the N.H.S. which would more than cover his operation 3 if only people would see the problem other’s suffer instead of there nationality .

  5. To Ben, why on earth would the SNP pay for his healthcare when the NHS is ran soley by London, are you registered with the spanish health service? how much have you contributed towards it? looking through the blogs you seem to have an opinion on everything, have you that little going on in your life that you have to put your 2 pence worth on every story, also your SNP comment smacks a little of racism/anti Scots

  6. @Peter It ONLY matters what the bean counters say. No go-ahead for the operation, no operation. The money that the UK has probably paid to fund Wynne Donnelly’s healthcare will probably have been spent on something that has nothing to do with Wynne Donnelly, while politicians blame retired expats for draining the healthcare system. They should contact their MEP.

  7. There are British Consulates around the world where British Citizens can seek advice or even help. I believe there is one in Madrid. The address should be easy to find on the net, and you could always give them a call and ask how you stand in this matter. You must be entitled to Healthcare in UK as well if you have contributed to Social Security back home. Just because you are “expats” doesnt mean you should be left to your own resources when problems rear their ugly head, especially health concerns.

    You are also members of the EU and as such you should be entitled as an EU national to seek medical care in the country you are visiting. Im not sure whether the E1-11 form you should take with you when travelling overseas, would cover you for medical care, if you are resident. It is supposed to cover you when travelling in the event of getting sick whilst abroad and the expenses in turn is paid by your own country to the one you are at present.

    Problem is that there is a long waiting list for surgical procedures in Spanish hospitals, even if you are an EU member or a Spanish National and with the current climate of reforms, it will probably get longer.

    Considering all this, and if you havent had any joy from your local hospital, I would really seek the advice of your nearest British consulate in Spain with this worrying problem for the gentleman concerned and for his family. Let them advise you. And if they can’t you havent lost anything by giving them a ring.

    Best wishes to Mr. McCinally and his family. Hoping everything turns out all right for you.

  8. Here you go, Malaga should be the nearest and best option for your enquiries;


    British Consulate
    Edificio Eurocom, Bloque Sur
    C/ Mauricio Moro Pareto, 2, 2º
    29006 Málaga

    Postal address:
    Apartado Correos 360
    29080 Málaga

    Tel.: 952 35 23 00

    E-mail: malaga@fco.gov.uk

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