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JOHN PAYS FOR NEW HIP WITH MORTGAGE.

A RETIRED policeman, crippled with arthritis, has topped up his mortgage to pay for a private hip replacement.

John Hay, 68, asked Abbey National for an extra pounds 4,500 after being told he would wait nearly three years for surgery on the NHS.

He and wife Berna will repay the cash over 15 years.

Berna explained: "John told the manager the loan was for an improvement, but not a home improvement. He was very understanding."

John, who lives in Brighton, despaired after the local Royal Sussex County Hospital said it would be 15 months before he could even discuss his problems with an orthopaedic surgeon. The hospital warned it could be a further 18 months before he had surgery. A spokesman said: "We have five orthopaedic consultants but should have eight for the size of the local population. So a wait of this length is not uncommon."

Berna said: "Many others are waiting for new hips and that's why there's a long delay. But John is finding it difficult to sleep and the pain is making him depressed. By paying privately he'll get his op this month."

An Abbey National official said: "Our aim is to make customers' lives easier and what better way than to help Mr Hay get his operation."
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Author:Palmer, Jill
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 14, 2000
Words:213
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