People are being asked to avoid the Borders General Hospital’s accident and emergency department unless they require “urgent medical attention”.
Health bosses at NHS Borders say that an “exceptionally high demand” on the hospital has led to delays and a shortage of beds.
This afternoon the health board urged people only to go to accident and emergency in Melrose if really necessary in a bid to clear the backlog.
Director of nursing, midwifery and acute services Nicky Berry, said: “The Borders General Hospital is experiencing exceptionally high demand in our Accident and Emergency Department which in turn puts pressure on bed availability in the hospital.
“We are working hard to discharge patients who are well enough to go home to create some more space, however this takes time.
“We are looking after some very sick people so please help us take the pressure off the hospital and only go to A&E if you have an illness or injury that is serious and requires urgent medical attention.
“If you do need to attend A&E you may have to wait longer than usual so please be patient and remember that our staff are doing their best during this very busy time.
“If you are unwell and it is not an emergency there are a wide range of NHS services available to provide you with the appropriate treatment and care. GP surgeries are open and your community pharmacies are open and available to provide expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and ailments, and to give advice about your medicines.
“Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses, ailments and injuries. “If you or someone you care for is unwell when your GP surgery is closed contact the NHS 24 helpline on 111.
“If the condition is immediately life threatening, dial 999 for an emergency ambulance.”
Borderers are being advised to visit www.nhsinform.scot for information on how to treat a wide range of minor ailments.