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I am an ex-resident of the UK -now living in Crete.

Among many things that England is famous for -football hooligans,roast beef,the Queen and other things, is a National Health service that is envied throughout the world as the epitome of health care.

In July 2013,the 8th to be precise,I went to see the local village doctor about a strange irregular shaped lump by my right nipple. Dr. Simeonakis was not sure what it was but suspected that I may have breast cancer. He telephoned an ex colleague,Basileios Bobatzakis, from his hospital days and arranged for a mammagram the next day.

On the 9th July I had my mammagram which confirmed that I had a problem. I went back to Dr. Simeonakis who made an appointment for a biopsy on the following Thusday,the 11th.

On the Thursday I went to see Dr.Emmanuel Plexousakis, in Siteia,who did the biopsy,sent it away to be tested and told me that the results would be about 7 days.

On the 19th July the tumour was declared to be malignant and Dr. Plexousakis telephoned a surgeon who specialised in breast cancer surgery-Dr. Elias Sanidas in Iraklion. I saw him on Monday the 22nd of July and we arranged that he would carry out the operation on Thursday the 8th of August.(He apologised that he couldn’t do it before because he was on holiday. He didn’t realize that that,to someone English,is a joke. In England you are happy if someone sees you within two or three months).

On The 29th,31st of July and the 1st ,5th and 6th of August I had numerous tests and on the 8th August at 7.30 in the morning Dr. Sanidas worked his magic and removed the offending part. I was released to go back to my hotel at 8.30 in the evening and sat eating ice cream with some of my Grandchildren who were across on a long arranged holiday with my son.

The whole process,from diagnosis to removal had taken 31 days. I was glad ,that when I spoke to Dr.Sanidas about whether to go back to England or to stay in Greece,that I chose to stay.

Why would I not go back to England to be treated by the fabled NHS – simple, the NHS isn’t that good but only the English know it. The staff are horrendously overworked, the hospitals are dirty with regular and persistent outbreaks of C-diff,norovirus and necrotizing fasciitis.The doctors are given completely unachievable targets, the results of which are manipulated by administrators to show that everything is OK.


1) My 91 year old mother-in-law was left on a trolley in the corridor for 11 hours before anyone came to see her. She had a well documented heart condition.
2) A friend who lives on Crete couldn’t walk because of a chronic hip problem.the doctor agreed that he needed a hip replacement and gave him a 3 month supply of pain killers(paracetamol) and told him to come back when he needed more. No mention of the new hip.He came back to Greece and had the procedure here.
3) My daughter had confirmed bladder cancer at the age of 36. She was put on a priority waiting list to be operated on as soon as possible -it took 6 weeks before she saw a consultant and 3 more weeks before the operation.

The decision to be treated here was easy and I continue to be amazed at all the complaining that people do here.When you go to the A & E in the UK you expect to wait between 2 to 10 hours to be seen. A friend of mine went with his index finger hanging off from an accident at work and was told that he needed an appointment before he could be seen by a doctor !!

Am I glad that I was treated here -you bet I am!

A mention here to Dr Mavrodis and his team of chemical engineers for the chemotherapy. It can’t be easy dealing with a bewildered Englishman who speaks only dubious Greek, but the ever smiling nurses(a rarity in the NHS) were pleasant ,helpful and on Christmas Eve put the Christmas tree up. Why do I mention that? Because in the UK now Christmas isn’t allowed in public places in case it offends another religion.

Would I chose to be treated here again. Absolutely! And all of my friends who have also been treated here agree.

Thank you.

John Haynes

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