Guernsey man goes to France for knee surgery to bypass long on-island waiting list

  • ITV Channel reporter Roisin Gauson examines why islanders are turning abroad for orthopaedic operations.

A Guernsey man has travelled to France to get a double knee replacement after becoming frustrated with wait times and the cost of the operation on island.

Jonathan Travers joined the surgery list in 2022 and says he was left unable to work for the last 18 months as he dealt with "non-stop pain".

He told ITV News that on hearing it could take two years or more before getting his knees replaced, he travelled to France in January 2024 to have the operation carried out there instead.

The difference in medical bills was also stark with Jonathan quoted £14,500 per knee for private treatment in Guernsey - it cost £8,500 to have both done in France.

Jonathan says the difference since surgery is "absolutely phenomenal".

He added: "My grandson is four and I could not keep up with him, but now I can. My granddaughter isn't walking yet, but now I can carry them."

Waiting lists remain stubborn in Guernsey, averaging around 800, but the opening of the dedicated De Havilland Ward has helped to reduce times in orthopaedics.

The unit carried out 453 major joint replacements in 2023 - although there are still concerns over the recruitment of staff and an ageing population that is likely to put more pressure on services.

Deputy Al Brouard, President of Guernsey's Health & Social Care Committee, explained: "The need for more nurses is one issue and of course, we've been trying to get nursing accommodation on the Princess Elizabeth Hospital site.

"We also need to do the hospital modernisation which will then give us access to another four more theatres, again, very important with regard to orthopaedics."