Sailor set fair following hernia operation

When author, sailor and retired Royal Marine Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Southby-Tailyour OBE noticed symptoms which indicated a hernia, he knew as a keen sailor he would need to get it treated – he did not want there to be any problems when he was out in the middle of the ocean.

The 77-year-old from Ermington still sails single-handed offshore, and last summer he noticed the symptoms of a hernia.

He said: “it was obvious to me that this was the problem. As a keen sailor I was eager to get the hernia repaired, because it would not be a good idea if something went wrong while I was at sea.”

Over the winter he saw a GP who recommended that he be seen by a specialist. He then received a letter offering the choice of five local hospitals, and he chose Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre. He commented: “My wife had been treated at Peninsula so we knew the care was good. The system is easy too, from ample free parking to well-organised procedures.”

Following his pre-operation assessment he was given the choice of two dates, and opted for 3rd April – “I wanted to get the operation over and done with and be recovered in time for summer sailing.”

The operation was over and done with in a day, and Ewen returned home the same evening. He is now on the road to recovery.

He said: “I am slowly getting back to helping to run the farm and walking the dogs and I am looking forward to a return to sailing in due course. I was very happy with the care I received at Peninsula – it is a very efficient hospital. From my arrival to my discharge everything worked like clockwork. The team were professional and calm, dispensing their duties with care and humour.”

He added: “I would like to thank everyone involved for their professionalism, care and humour: the finest example of the NHS at its very best.”

Ewen had a long and distinguished military career which saw active service around the world. In 1982 he was named Yachtsman of the Year for his work chartering the waters around the Falkland Islands, and his in-depth knowledge of the area proved invaluable to the British campaign in the Falkland Islands war of the same year.

He has published 15 books, one of which (“3 Commando Brigade: Helmand Assault”) reached number seven in The Sunday Times best-selling list. He has also written an historical novel of the Falklands that has been optioned for a full-length feature film. His other interests include watercolour painting, shooting and snorkelling. He was a member and chairman of the World Ship Trust and a member of the National Maritime Historical Society and the Society for Nautical Research. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation. He is a member of the Society of Authors.

He has been a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron since 1970 and has twice been awarded an engraved Rolex watch for exploring in high latitudes as well as winning the Camrose Trophy. Since 1972 he has been a member of the Royal Cruising Club which has twice awarded him the Goldsmith Exploration Award for exploring in Iceland and the Falkland Islands. He entered for the first nine, quadrennial Two Handed Round Britain and Ireland races and navigated six Fastnet races. The Ocean Cruising Club awarded him their Award of Merit for sailing single-handed during an Arctic winter.

Mark White, Hospital Director at Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre, commented: “We are delighted that Ewen is pleased with the care he received and we thank him for the glowing letter he sent to tell us of his experience.”

Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre was the first hospital of its kind in the country to be rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission. The hospital offers a range of care including orthopaedic, cataract and general surgery and endoscopic investigations, and it has a self-pay option for patients who do not wish to wait for treatment longer than they would prefer, or who have been told that the treatment they require is no longer available on the NHS. If your GP agrees that you need treatment you can ask them to refer you to the hospital for treatment – it is part of your choice as an NHS patient.

More information is available by calling 01752 506070 or by visiting www.peninsulatreatmentcentre.nhs.uk