RELAXED on a comfortable recliner, I waited for my pint of blood to drip down into the sterile bag. The young nurse stood beside me, keeping an eye on proceedings.

“You’re busy today,” I said, reflecting on the queue outside and every bay in the department, full.

“We’re short-staffed”, she said, “holidays, sickness, isolating, you know how it is.”

“We’ll manage” – her chirpy mood and wide smile taking my mind off the task in hand.

“You’re doing a great job,” I replied, encouragingly. “How long did it take you to train to be a nurse?’

“Oh, I’m not a nurse,” she answered, “I’m a phlebotomist. It takes three months to train. I used to be a customer care assistant in Tesco but couldn’t take the verbal abuse.”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard similar comments from other service providers astounded at the attitude of some of the public.

In a local restaurant in Dunbar, there’s a notice in the window apologising that they won’t be able to open as planned because they can’t get staff! Do we all understand what’s happening in the labour market?

Medical positions, police, retail and hospitality have a lot in common. They are all service providers. Reports across all these areas tell of an increasing element of people who, rather than being appreciative and grateful for the service they receive, are deserving, rude and abusive.

Unfortunately, post-Brexit and post-lockdown, it is no longer always possible to do everything for everyone all of the time. Social distancing, reduced capacity, and disruption to the supply chain are resulting in services not being able to be delivered at the speed or capacity we expect.

Unless we all face up to this and manage our expectations, experienced professionals will walk away and the situation will get even worse. We need to be realistic and thankful that things are indeed getting better, albeit slower than we would like.

And, if you’re able, do think about giving blood; you get a free Tunnock’s Teacake!