AN appeal has been made by hospital bosses for people to stay away from A&E unless it's an emergency.

And they are also asking for family members to collect loved ones from Borders General Hospital if they are ready to be discharged.

Bed-blocking following last week's storms has led to increased pressures on all services.

Dr Cliff Sharp, medical director of NHS Borders, told us: “In the aftermath of last week’s severe weather the Borders General Hospital is currently under exceptional pressure.

"The weather conditions last week meant that we could not discharge as many patients who were ready to go home as we needed to, and despite trying to catch up we are now experiencing exceptionally high demand in our Accident and Emergency department which is putting further 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.

"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."

Anyone who has to attend A&E can expect to have a longer than normal wait.

Dr Sharp added: "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 is a wide range of NHS services available to provide the appropriate treatment and care.

GP surgeries are open and community pharmacies are available to provide expert advice and treatment for a range of common illnesses and ailments.

Self-care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses, ailments and injuries, with information available from The NHS 24 helpline on 111 is also available to provide information.

But if the condition is immediately life threatening, dial 999 for an emergency ambulance.