Borderers are being urged to only attend the accident and emergency department at the Borders General Hospital in an emergency.
The call comes as the hospital is experiencing exceptional pressures, and beds are filling up fast.
Dr Cliff Sharp, medical director at NHS Borders, said that in non-emergency cases, there are a wide range of NHS services you should consider before turning up at A&E.
He 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.”
Visit www.nhsinform.scot for information on how to treat a wide range of minor ailments.
If you or someone you care for is unwell when your GP surgery is closed, contact the NHS 24 helpline on 111, but if the condition is immediately life threatening, dial 999 for an emergency ambulance.