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Yes, it looks painful. And for this, this gentleman from Great Britain flew more than 1500 kilometers. So do you, by the way. And so do the two of them. Lithuania has become a new favorite destination for Britons. The Scotswoman Liz Peck had recently received a red-hot tip.

Liz Peck, patient:
"I have a friend who got a new hip here last year. She is now playing golf like a pro again. She walks like a 15-year-old, but she's 65! That's what I want too! That's why I'm here."

Because in the United Kingdom it wouldn't have worked, with the new knee. At least not in the foreseeable future.

Liz Peck, patient:
"Well, I live in the Highlands in Scotland, in the far north. And at the moment we have the longest waiting lists in the whole of the UK, for all types of orthopaedic procedures."

In other words, everyone who is here now would have had to be patient for an operation at home.

Susan Blakey, patient:
"I would have had to wait three years."

Liz Peck, patient:
"Between four and seven years old."

Susan Blakey, patient:
"And I've been waiting for three years!"

Derek Ross, patient:
"Even an animal wouldn't be kept waiting for such a long time."

Elizabeth Wallis, patient:
"You don't know how many years you'll have left when you're my age."

Peck has already survived it. The surgery is over, the relief is great. For the domestic health system, the Briton does not have many warm words left.

Liz Peck, patient:
"It's broken, it's just broken. I don't know how to do that again. Great Britain has always been said to have the best healthcare system in Europe. Now I have experienced the treatment here... No comparison! We have fallen far, far behind! Unfortunately. And the people are suffering!«

In numbers, it looks like this: More than 700,000 people in the UK are currently waiting for hip or knee surgery. The number of people generally waiting for treatment is also at an all-time high: 7.4 million Britons are on waiting lists at the National Health Service. Theoretically, these can be circumvented: By visiting a private clinic and paying for it yourself. Very few people can afford it. But there is an alternative, and it is attractive.

Susan Blakey, patient:
"If I had had it done in England, it would have cost between £16,000 and £20,000. Here it cost 8000 euros. Most of the people I've met here are English patients. Obviously, a lot of people come here."

And, of course, they also bring British humour with them.

Susan Blakey, patient:
"I'm trying to smile!"

Postcard with a cartoon horse:
»I can't say I'm really satisfied with my new hip.«

It is estimated that more than 200,000 Britons travel abroad each year for interventions. Even British doctors now advise this. This was the case with Derek Ross, who met his compatriot Elizabeth Wallis here in the waiting area.

Derek Ross, patient:
"When I asked my GP for a recommendation for private treatment, he asked if I had thought about going abroad."

Elizabeth Wallis, patient: "Some say:
Uhh... Lithuania? Never heard of it...«

Derek Ross, patient:
"Lithuania was probably not the first thing that came to mind. But after some research, we came here."

Private clinics in Lithuania are at the forefront of medical tourism because the overall package is right. Included are: plane tickets, accommodation and even a week of rehab. In England, you would have to pay for it yourself.

The »Nordclinic« in Kaunas primarily places targeted online advertising. The rest is taken care of by the good reputation – in the form of satisfied patients. The surgeon is sure of that.

Šarūnas Tarasevičius, surgeon at Nordclinic Kaunas:
"We started medical tourism about twelve years ago. And you can say that if you operate on a certain number of patients, you no longer have to place ads. If your neighbour has had surgery and you're still on the NHS list, talk to your neighbour while you're out for a walk – and decide to come to Lithuania."

In this one private clinic alone, around 500 patients from Great Britain will have a new hip or knee joint implanted in the course of this year, with around 20 percent more every year. Hardly anyone from Lithuania reports here – because in public hospitals there is comparably good treatment, financed by the statutory health insurance.

A few days after the operation, patients can walk again. For the mostly older clientele, this is an abrupt improvement in the quality of life. Times have changed, says Tarasevičius.

Šarūnas Tarasevičius, surgeon at Nordclinic Kaunas:
"If you think back 20 years, what did patients do at the age of 65? They went to the fridge and back. Sometimes they still went shopping. If you look at patients at 65 or 70 today, they want to climb, ski, play tennis... They want to do a lot more!«

Derek Ross and Elizabeth Wallis are about to have their long-awaited knee surgery. They are aware that they are privileged despite the lower prices.

Derek Ross, Patient
»I'm lucky that I can afford it. Should I be forced to do so? No. Do I think it's right? No. But if you're the person who's in pain, pay the money to get rid of that pain."

By the way, she is looking forward to carefree hiking tours again, he is looking forward to being able to play golf again. First world problems – solved in Lithuania.