Nigel Farage
Ukip leader Nigel FarageGetty

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has claimed that he was "almost killed" by the National Health Service, and that the public should pay for private health care if they can.

In his memoir – The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything – Farage claims he was "fobbed off" by NHS doctors who did not spot his testicular cancer, after he went to see an NHS consultant about a swollen testicle when he was 21.

Extracts from Farage's memoirs are being published in the Daily Telegraph.

"My left testicle was as large as a lemon and rock hard. To say that this consultant was disinterested would be an understatement; perhaps he had a round of golf booked for the afternoon. 'Keep taking the antibiotics,' he preached, and that was that," he writes.

Farage was then diagnosed with cancer at a private hospital after a scan and had the testicle removed.

In the book Farage states the NHS is "astonishingly good" at critical care, Farage states, but "battered and poorly run" in other areas.

Farage claims the encounter with testicular cancer was not Farage's only serious health crisis.

"I have now had three near-death experiences – cancer, an accident and a plane crash – and 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," he writes.

"When I had cancer, the incompetence and negligence of the NHS almost killed me, but it has also saved my life. I am certainly not taking any flak from gutless politicians who claim that I am no fan or supporter of the NHS."

Farage said that "the NHS is so over-stretched that if you can afford private health care, you should take it, particularly for diagnostics and preventative medicine".

The 50-year-old states that that the cumulative effects of a serious car accident – also in his 20s – and a plane crash on the day of the 2010 election, have left him with the body of a 70-year-old.

After the plane crash, Farage was told that he could designated as partially disabled, but he writes that having a blue badge would be "conceding defeat".

Last month Farage said that UKIP is committed to a free NHS and laid out plans to spend an additional £3bn ($4.42bn) on the service.