Cathy Rice had been in all-consuming pain for 18 months when she decided to fly to Lithuania. “I was going up the stairs on my hands and knees. I couldn’t get to the shop. I had no quality of life,” she says.
Rice, 68, who has four grandchildren, had been told she needed a knee replacement for an injury caused by osteoarthritis but – like millions of NHS patients – faced a gruelling wait.
At a clinic in Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city, the operation was arranged within weeks and cost €6,800 (£5,967) – around half the cost in the UK. The price included a pre-travel consultatio