People are being asked to avoid the Borders General Hospital’s accident and emergency department unless they require urgent medical attention.
Health bosses at NHS Borders say that an “exceptionally high demand” on the hospital has led to delays and a shortage of beds.
This afternoon the health board urged people only to go to accident and emergency in Melrose if really necessary in a bid to clear the backlog.
A NHS Borders spokeswoman said: “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 the emergency department if you have an illness or injury that is serious and requires urgent medical attention.
“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 including your community pharmacy.”
People are being urged to visit www.nhsinform.scot for information on how to treat a wide range of minor ailments, or contact the NHS 24 helpline on 111.
In an emergency call 999 for an ambulance.