A FORMER bodybuilder has accused the NHS of 'utterly ignoring' him after doctors repeatedly failed to diagnose him with Lyme disease.

Daniel Hickson, 25, from Winsford, fell seriously ill in June 2015.

He began suffering serious neurological symptoms such as blurred vision, extreme headaches, tinnitus, dizziness, derealisation, speech problems and issues with his hand-to-eye coordination.

His symptoms baffled doctors, despite suggesting he may have contracted the bacterial infection, Lyme disease.

Daniel said: “I feel totally and utterly ignored by the NHS health system. There is no knowledge on Lyme disease and the tests they use are unreliable.

“There is very little knowledge about this disease and thousands are suffering as a result.”

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria known as Borrelia and is spread by infected ticks.

It can cause long-term neurological symptoms that could be mistaken for other conditions. The 25-year-old believes he may have contracted the disease during a trip to the Lake District in 2013.

Daniel said he began experiencing joint and muscle pain, severe upper abdominal and chest pain, neck and back pain, hearing loss, heart palpitations and weight loss.

After doctors at Leighton Hospital and Royal Liverpool University Hospital ruled out Lyme disease, Daniel's GP referred him to a specialist in tropical medicine, who also ruled out the illness.

However, Daniel was so convinced he had contracted Lyme disease he began sourcing antibiotics from abroad.

In total he said he has attended around 40 GP appointments at Launceston Close Surgery and seen around 20 different doctors, as well as forking out thousands of pounds in private health care.

“I have spent almost £7000 in private tests and treatment but this will ultimately be ongoing as to date I have had no diagnosis or treatment from the NHS," Daniel said.

A statement from the Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (MCHFT), which manages Leighton Hospital, said it is ‘unable to comment in detail on individual patient concerns’, but ‘would like to emphasise that it takes any issues raised regarding a patient’s treatment very seriously’.

Launceston Close Surgery declined to comment.

Daniel said his current GP at Launceston Close Surgery has been helpful but has been restricted by current NHS guidelines and a lack of knowledge of Lyme disease and co-infections.

Recently, a private specialist diagnosed Daniel with Lyme disease and a co-infection, babesia, and has begun treating him.

Though his health has improved, Daniel, who used to enjoy working out in the gym five days a week and running out doors, fears the disease has changed him forever.

He said: “I estimate I am around 50 per cent recovered but I feel like I will never be the same again.

“I am unable to do things I used to do. It has put an immense strain on me and my family both financially and emotionally.”

Dr Peter Williams, medical director Royal Liverpool University Hospital, said: “We sympathise with the Mr Hickson’s situation and the anxiety felt by him and his family.

“Mr Hickson is being cared for by our experienced infection specialists who continue to investigate him following national and international guidelines.”