Nigel Farage: The NHS 'Almost Killed Me'

Nigel Farage: The NHS 'Almost Killed Me'

Nigel Farage has claimed "incompetence and negligence" by NHS doctors almost killed him when he was suffering from testicular cancer.

The UKIP leader criticised the "over-stretched" system's record for diagnosing ailments quickly and accurately - and urged voters to take private healthcare if they can afford it.

He wrote in his memoirs: "In the NHS, the system is so battered and poorly run that unless you are really lucky, you will fall through the cracks."

After falling unwell in 1986, NHS medics thought that pain and swelling in the politician's left testicle was an infection, and he was given antibiotics.

Mr Farage was only informed that he actually had a tumour after beginning private treatment, and he has since told of being "terrified" at the prospect that secondary tumours had emerged in his stomach and lungs.

Despite the misdiagnosis, the 51-year-old conceded that the National Health Service has saved his life twice, and praised it for being "astonishingly good" at emergency critical care.

Pre-empting a backlash from his rivals, Mr Farage added: "I've seen the best and worst of the NHS. I am better qualified to criticise and defend our health care system than most politicians."

Mr Farage also revealed that he could choose to be registered as disabled if he wished, after other incidents - including a plane crash and a car accident - "left him with the body of a 70-year-old".

He added: "Having nearly died three times has made me a much bigger risk-taker. When you think your life is about to be taken away and you are given it back, you just want to get on and do things.

"There's no time to waste: children to bring up, elections to win, pheasants to pluck, wine to drink."

The UKIP leader's intimate description of his three brushes with death was made in his new book The Purple Revolution, which is being serialised in The Daily Telegraph.