Thursday 25th February 1993 Morning surgery 10:10

“I hope this is urgent, Mrs Vaughan.” My Dad looked angrily at the telephone handset. “I am in the middle of a busy surgery.”
“I consider it extremely urgent, Dr Dennis.”
“Well . . . what’s happened?”
“I have been called to Miss Lilian Lightman’s. She fell this morning and was unable to get up for two hours. As you know, she has an arthritic knee. She didn’t injure herself but her knee is dreadful. She hasn’t been able to go out of the house for 6 months. It is quite a struggle for her to walk across the room, even with her Zimmer frame. She can’t get in and out of the bath. The pain is affecting her sleep. She can’t go on like it.”
“She is going to have a new knee, Mrs Vaughan.”
“Yes, she has been on the waiting list for nearly 3 years. Her operation was cancelled twice at short notice because there were no beds.”
“That will be due to winter pressures.” My Dad explained.
“The last time it was cancelled was in September. Before that, it was in May. You can hardly blame winter pressures.”
“As far as surgery is concerned, Mrs Vaughan, winter pressures have a knock on effect throughout the year.”
“I am not happy about the situation, Dr Dennis. Miss Lightman is getting quite depressed. Can you do anything?”
“I am afraid I can’t, Mrs Vaughan. Basically, we need beds . . .” My Dad caught himself just in time. “Listen, I’ve got to go, Mrs Vaughan. I have a patient waiting. He looks quite poorly.”

We need beds . . .