The trouble at St. Edmunds Hospital has not actually begun when Miss Enid Hallet, retired ex-Sister Hallet, is admitted there to Hunter Ward. But it starts soon after the lift door closes behind her, in the baleful face of Joe Wells, the militant hall porter. For Hunter Ward, at the top of the building, is an amenity ward including four pay beds, and the lay staff, striking against supposed privilege, are determined to ensure that all essential services to the top floor come to a halt.
The nursing staff do their best in the ensuing chaos, as the dirty linen piles up in the corridors and relief catering is smuggled in via the fire-escape. Then ex-sister Hallet dies, a death unlamented for several good reasons by various people, but a death for which it is very difficult to offer any satisfactory explanation. And that was only the trouble in Hunter Ward.