About six weeks ago, I had to go into hospital to have an operation on my left eye, as I had suffered a slight retinal tear. Worry not, as the procedure went well and the next day I was told by the surgeon that I could go home.
"Hoorah!" I thought and paid no attention to the rest of his sentence: "- just as soon as your drops and tablets have been sent up from the hospital pharmacy."
Four and a half hours later, they duly arrived. According to the nurses, there was nothing unusual in this timescale and they assured me that it was much worse at weekends, or Bank Holidays.
"You can be waiting 8 hours then!" One of them added cheerfully.
Several times during my long wait, I thought of simply going home and picking them up later. However I couldn't drive, so would have had to scrounge a lift. It would have been an hour's round trip and no, the staff can't phone you when your medicines are ready. So I stayed put, wondering how much my bed cost per hour.
I finally received my bag of drugs, said goodbye to the others in my little ward and as I walked out I could hear the man in the bed opposite me asking the nurse how much longer his prescriptions would be (He had already waited over three hours).
Bear this story in mind the next time you hear on the news about a hospital beds shortage.