Under-pressure Borders General Hospital bosses are urging prospective patients to stay away from its accident-and-emergency department if possible.
Staff at the Melrose hospital’s casualty department are said to be facing exceptional pressures this week due to high demand for treatment and a shortage of beds.
To help them cope with that crisis, they’re urging people to stay away for now except in genuine emergencies.
They’re also appealing to relatives of patients taking up much-needed beds to make arrangements to collect them if they’re ready to go home.
Nicky Berry, the hospital’s director of nursing, midwifery and acute services, said: “We are currently experiencing exceptionally high demand in our accident-and-emergency department which is putting pressure on bed availability.
“We are working hard to discharge patients who are well enough to go home to create some more space. However, this takes time.
“If you have a relative in any of our hospitals who is ready to be discharged, please make arrangements to collect them as soon as you can.
“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.”
“Please make sure you have adequate stocks of regular prescription medicines that you take.
“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.
“If the condition is immediately life-threatening, dial 999 for an emergency ambulance.”