'My wife says it is great to have her husband back' - Dad (51) facing one-year surgery delay has operation in North within weeks
Chris Boyne, who is enjoying a new lease of life following hip-replacement surgery, is urging other patients languishing on waiting lists to follow his lead and go north.
The 51-year-old father of two from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, is among growing numbers of people in the Republic availing of the EU cross-border scheme.
He faced the gruelling prospect of a delay of at least a year for a hip replacement in Cappagh Hospital.
However, after hearing of the scheme he arranged for his GP to refer him to the Kingsbridge Hospital in Belfast and he got the go-ahead from the HSE in just three weeks.
His wife Deirdre got a loan from the credit union to help fund the €10,000 surgery and they were quickly reimbursed in full by the HSE.
"Once the HSE gave the green light, I was in Kingsbridge within 10 days and home in 14 days," he told the Irish Independent.
"I was not even officially on the waiting list for Cappagh. I was on the waiting list to go on the waiting list."
Chris is full of praise for the care he got at the Kingsbridge Hospital.
"All patients had private rooms. You order your meal daily," he said.
Chris, who had his surgery in recent weeks, was on crutches since September last year. His condition was exacerbated by a chronic back problem.
"I can now walk freely, unassisted. If I go for a walk, I take the crutches in case I get tired," he said.
"I have done three kilometres and go to the gym every day.
"My wife says it's great to have her husband back."