Case Study: We could have paid for op in Republic
Kathleen (not her real name) is a 72-year-old from Co Londonderry and has been waiting for more than two years for a knee replacement that would free her from constant pain.
"I have been on a waiting list for a knee replacement and at times I wonder if I will ever get called - but if I had known this option was available to me I definitely would have looked into it.
"My husband died just two years ago and I am on my own now but my family and me could have bunched up together for the money and paid to get my operation done in the Republic if it was quicker.
"You wouldn't mind paying if you knew you were going to get reimbursed, but I couldn't afford to pay and not get it back.
"I actually got an appointment to have my operation done in Kingsbridge private hospital (in south Belfast) but the day it was to happen I developed a high temperature and they sent me home again for more waiting.
"A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Kingsbridge was one of the hospitals affected by the cuts to the health budget and they wrote to me telling me that, due to unforeseen circumstances, they couldn't do my operation. Knowing that there might be another way has helped me and I will ask my consultant about this."