Young Norman Binns is admitted to Dr Thorpe's hospital ward and is tricked by pessimistic patient Figgis into swapping beds with him so that Figgis can have the bed with the window view. As a result the doctor and staff nurse Gupte confuse the two men's symptoms. Then hypochondriac Glover tells Figgis that the last occupant of the bed has 'gone to a better place', scaring him into giving it back to Norman, though Glover's claim that he is dying means that Norman loses the bed again.
Norman has to have an operation for his appendix to be removed but Figgis's doom-laden description of operations and Dr Thorpe's tiredness do not give him confidence and he hides in the toilet, having to be coaxed out. Gupte uses a hypodermic syringe to knock him out but accidentally injects Glover so that the only way Norman will be persuaded to have the operation is if he is accompanied by Figgis - who, to Dr Thorpe's glee, hates the sight of blood.
Dr Thorpe is telling Gupte that his dog Victor is not well but Gupte misunderstands and thinks he is talking about his son. The patients also fall prey to the misunderstanding, for various reasons each of them believing that they are going to die. Dr Thorpe manages to tell Figgis and Norman the truth but by this time Glover has rung up his boss to tell him exactly what he thinks of him.
Glover has been seeing a Greek girl Anna and panics when her violent boyfriend Nico comes looking for him so Figgis wraps his head in bandages and says he is a burns victim. Aware that Nico will want to see him with the bandages removed Figgis then swathes Norman in bandages so that he can be the one to face Nico - and for good measure covers his own head up, causing Dr Thorpe no end of confusion.
The patients find the hospital food disgusting and decide to go on hunger strike but soon weaken. However Clegg, who serves the food then decides to go on strike himself, but has his foot run over by Dr Thorpe whilst on the picket line outside the hospital. Eventually he is persuaded to go back to work and the patients can eat again - only to be confronted by the irate cook demanding to know who is criticizing her food.
Norman is reading 'Tangled Web', a hospital romance, when he sees new nurse Sally, who is exactly like the book's heroine. He is keen to express his feelings for her but finds he has rivals in Glover, Dr Thorpe and Gupte, who are all keen to pursue. Eventually Figgis sets Thorpe and Gupte against each other and gets rid of Glover but even Norman is surprised by his idol's passionate response.
Glover is discharged and Figgis is unhappy as he has nobody with whom to argue so he goes to the local pub pretending to be a doctor and diagnosing people with terrible illnesses, filling the ward. When Dr Thorpe finds out he goes after Figgis, giving Gupte instructions to hit him but when Gupte sees Thorpe examining a patient he assumes it is Figgis in his doctor's guise and hits him instead. As a result the doctor ends up as a patient with Norman, Figgis - and Glover, who has been readmitted as not well enough to go home.