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Patients rush to Calais to avoid queue for NHS ops

Knee
surgery:
Serge Orlov
said his
French op
was ‘like
winning the
lottery’

NHS patients are bypassing lengthy queues for ops by travelling to France.

Serge Orlov, 62, from Deal, Kent, is among scores taking advantage of a little-publicised arrangement with Calais’s main hospital, where there are no waiting lists.

‘What would take seven months in England took three months here. It’s like winning the lottery,’ he said.

Mr Orlov is one of 140 Britons who have approached the French hospital over the past two weeks. He was at the French port town on Saturday, where he was due to receive knee surgery.

After the 2015 agreement with the South Kent Coast Clinical Commissioning Group, which covers Deal, Sandwich and Dover, Calais’s hospital has installed signs in English and redesigned its website.

After a slow start, more patients are taking part. ‘Patients can be seen next week if they want to be. Appointments are based around patient availability. We are ready to take them now,’ said Calais hospital boss Martin Trelcat.

It is not known if the Calais partnership will continue after Brexit.