NHS bosses in the Borders are asking people to stay away from A&E unless it's an emergency.

The BGH department is facing a major backlog with staff struggling to free up beds.

Director of nursing and acute services Nicky Berry told us: "We are currently experiencing exceptionally high demand in our Accident and Emergency Department which is putting 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.

"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."

Patients who have injuries and illnesses that are not deemed emergencies are being advised to make appointments with their local GP.

And in some instances community pharmacies can also help with certain ailments.

Ms Berry added: "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."

For more information on how treat minor ailments visit www.nhsinform.scot

And the NHS 24 helpline on 111 can also provide advice.

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