DESPITE regular appeals for people to stay away from Borders General Hospital's emergency department, figures show there is a continued increase in footfall through the doors.

And doctors are now urging for patients to find alternative help unless their condition is regarded as an emergency.

Latest figures show that 2,790 people attended the emergency department during November - 212 more than the same month the previous year.

The 8.2 percent year increase has angered bosses at NHS Borders.

Emergency department consultant Dr Colm McCarthy told us: "We have and continue to treat some very sick people however there have been instances where people could have sought more appropriate care.

"Is the emergency department the most appropriate place for you to come? Remember, it is for a life-threatening illnesses and injuries only.

"If you have nursed an injury for a couple of days and you feel that it needs to be seen, try to attend during office hours when there are minor injury nurses available to see you, rather than the middle of the night which is really only staffed for life-threatening injuries and illnesses that just cannot wait.

"And, if you do deem the department the most appropriate place to attend, please be patient with the staff.

"You will be triaged on arrival and you will be seen in terms of clinical priority, not in terms of arrival time.

"And that means that sometimes you will be waiting longer than you would at other times of the year.”

NHS Borders regularly issues advice for a accessing alternative medical help.

A wide range of services are available to provide appropriate treatment and care, including GP surgeries and community pharmacies.

Self-care information can be also be accessed at

And advice is also available from the NHS 24 helpline on 111.

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