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Old 1st Aug 2006, 22:10   #1
John Self
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Default The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

I can't help but admire this man...

OAP pays for op with fake cheque
A penniless pensioner from west London paid for a life-saving heart operation with a fake cheque.

Retired painter and decorator Roy Thayers was facing a nine-month wait on the NHS to get an angioplasty.

Instead, the 77-year-old wrote out a cheque for almost £9,000 for a private operation at Hammersmith Hospital - despite only having £10 in the bank.

He is now paying back the remaining amount of £6,481 in £25 instalments. He will be 99 by the time it is repaid.

Severe pain

The pensioner suffered from terrible pain for more years "than I can remember." It left him a virtual cripple.

"It was like putting a knife inside my ribs and twisting it all up," he said. "I couldn't move my legs and had to sit down after a few steps until the pain went. Truly terrible."

Doctors told the father of two he risked a fatal heart attack at any time.

Then he was told there was a nine-month wait.

He was left with the choice of either waiting out the nine months and risk having a fatal heart attack or writing out a "Mickey Mouse cheque" and going private.

The decision was easy.

"The idea came on the spur of the moment. I love life, I love my dogs, I love fishing - why should I die for the sake of money?"

"I wasn't going to worry about the law until it came to me," he said. "I paid into the NHS for years to look after me but now the doctors were telling me they wouldn't so who's robbing who?"

Bailiff threat

He wrote out a cheque on the day of the operation in December 2003.

It was only days afterwards that the hospital realised what had happened.

The NHS threatened to send bailiffs to his address to recover the money. All sides however finally agreed on a payment plan of £25 a month.

A spokeswoman for Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust said Mr Thayers' health was of the utmost importance and insist he would have been seen on the NHS earlier if his condition was thought to be urgent.

Married twice, his first wife died of cancer 40 years ago. After divorcing his second wife and becoming estranged from his two children who live in Bournemouth, he now lives alone.

But the pensioner has no regrets.

Happy to be alive, he spends his days watching old black & white westerns in-between looking after his two Jack Russells and his canaries.

"I did nothing wrong," he insisted. "I took back what was rightfully mine. I've been paying into the national health all my life, it's about time I got some payback. I did the right thing - I did what any man who do."
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Old 2nd Aug 2006, 0:44   #2
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

A Hero! Someone give him a medal!
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Old 2nd Aug 2006, 7:43   #3
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

Method noted.
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Old 2nd Aug 2006, 13:34   #4
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

Hooray! What's the betting they start insisting on credit or debit card payment from now on?
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Old 2nd Aug 2006, 13:43   #5
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

It just gets better and better under New Labour, doesn't it?
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Old 2nd Aug 2006, 13:55   #6
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

Forgive me if I'm being slightly obtuse, but isn't the point of a hospital to treat patients as quickly and successfully as possible? Shouldn't they be rewarded rather than fined?

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Old 3rd Aug 2006, 3:03   #7
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self
I can't help but admire this man...

OAP pays for op with fake cheque
A penniless pensioner from west London paid for a life-saving heart operation with a fake cheque.

Retired painter and decorator Roy Thayers was facing a nine-month wait on the NHS to get an angioplasty.

Instead, the 77-year-old wrote out a cheque for almost £9,000 for a private operation at Hammersmith Hospital - despite only having £10 in the bank.

He is now paying back the remaining amount of £6,481 in £25 instalments. He will be 99 by the time it is repaid.

Severe pain

The pensioner suffered from terrible pain for more years "than I can remember." It left him a virtual cripple.

"It was like putting a knife inside my ribs and twisting it all up," he said. "I couldn't move my legs and had to sit down after a few steps until the pain went. Truly terrible."

Doctors told the father of two he risked a fatal heart attack at any time.

Then he was told there was a nine-month wait.

He was left with the choice of either waiting out the nine months and risk having a fatal heart attack or writing out a "Mickey Mouse cheque" and going private.

The decision was easy.

"The idea came on the spur of the moment. I love life, I love my dogs, I love fishing - why should I die for the sake of money?"

"I wasn't going to worry about the law until it came to me," he said. "I paid into the NHS for years to look after me but now the doctors were telling me they wouldn't so who's robbing who?"

Bailiff threat

He wrote out a cheque on the day of the operation in December 2003.

It was only days afterwards that the hospital realised what had happened.

The NHS threatened to send bailiffs to his address to recover the money. All sides however finally agreed on a payment plan of £25 a month.

A spokeswoman for Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust said Mr Thayers' health was of the utmost importance and insist he would have been seen on the NHS earlier if his condition was thought to be urgent.

Married twice, his first wife died of cancer 40 years ago. After divorcing his second wife and becoming estranged from his two children who live in Bournemouth, he now lives alone.

But the pensioner has no regrets.

Happy to be alive, he spends his days watching old black & white westerns in-between looking after his two Jack Russells and his canaries.

"I did nothing wrong," he insisted. "I took back what was rightfully mine. I've been paying into the national health all my life, it's about time I got some payback. I did the right thing - I did what any man who do."
I disagree.

If many folk do this, private hospitals go out of business and the NHS waiting queues grow longer. I'm no fan of private healh care but recognise the importance of them as an employer and an alleviator of pressure on the NHS. This guy is damaging both. And assuming his life is more important than those on the waitng list before him and the continued employment of those who treated him. Not much for me to admire in that.
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Old 3rd Aug 2006, 3:44   #8
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

Quote:
Originally Posted by idioteque
I disagree.

If many folk do this, private hospitals go out of business and the NHS waiting queues grow longer. I'm no fan of private healh care but recognise the importance of them as an employer and an alleviator of pressure on the NHS. This guy is damaging both. And assuming his life is more important than those on the waitng list before him and the continued employment of those who treated him. Not much for me to admire in that.
What private hospital?

Quote:
The NHS threatened to send bailiffs to his address to recover the money. All sides however finally agreed on a payment plan of £25 a month.
If I read that aright the guy was treated in an NHS hospital but paid privately
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Old 4th Aug 2006, 0:21   #9
Hekaterine
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Default Re: The Guilt-Free Route to Private Healthcare

Yes, that's my understanding of the article as well. My own opinion is that there is something highly unpleasant about the NHS providing 'private' health care.
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Old 5th Sep 2006, 0:36   #10
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Default Re: The Guilty(!) Route to Private Healthcare

I agree with Idioteque here.

Its very easy to give "three cheers" for that chap who swindled the Hammersmith. But money was spent on his operation which will now not meaningfully be recovered. And remember that a good proportion of the income from private work done in NHS hospitals goes to the hospital. Now imagine if a relative of yours was on a waiting list to have that operation at the Hammersmith. Suppose that, because of the lack of that money, your relative's operation is delayed a week (believe me, that is not an impossible scenario). During that week, your relative dies. I guess that that chap is no longer such a hero. And certainly not guilt-free.
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