Page last updated at 16:01 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 17:01 UK

David Cameron heckled in Cornwall


David Cameron's interrupted interview

David Cameron has been heckled on a visit to Cornwall by a man claiming he was forced to travel abroad for an operation he could not get on the NHS.

The Conservative leader was making a live statement on BBC News when Steven Petersen interrupted him.

Mr Petersen said that he had to use his life savings to pay for a hiatus hernia operation in northern France.

He claimed he had been "fobbed off" by the health authority in Exmouth, Devon, where he was living at the time.

The people of this country are fed up with empty words
Steven Petersen

The incident happened shortly after Mr Cameron arrived on the quayside in Newlyn, his first port-of-call on a tour of Cornwall on Thursday.

He had been making a live television statement regarding the resignation of Conservative Deputy Leader David Davis.

Mr Petersen,53, told Mr Cameron: "The public have paid billions for the health service. The people of this country are fed up with empty words. There are people that are selling their homes.

"You are a massive person, I am just a little person. The little people don't have their voices heard."

Mr Cameron, who remained calm during the incident, said: "One of the things we have to do is to help people who don't want to have to sell their houses to pay for long-term care.

"We are looking at how to protect people's homes."

Mr Peterson told BBC News he went to see a gastrologist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital in Exeter in 2003 regarding his hiatus hernia condition.

He claims he was informed there was a two year waiting list for an operation to treat the hernia. He said he was in such pain he was forced to pay 2,000 for a private operation in Northern France

A spokeswoman for the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital said: "Our records show that this patient received extensive, thorough, timely and appropriate investigation on each GP referral between 2000 and 2003 and the outcome of these investigations was that surgery was not required.

"Following a complaint from this patient, independent clinical opinion was sought and confirmed that this patient would not benefit from surgery. Between 2004 and 2007 three further appointments were made for this patient to attend our hospital and the patient failed to attend on two of these occasions."

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