NHS Borders is urging potential patients to avoid the Accident and Emergency at Borders General Hospital this week.

Bosses at the Melrose hospital report 'exceptionally high demand' at the department.

And they have issued an appeal in a bid to ease the pressure.

NHS Borders chief executive Ralph Roberts 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.

"To 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."

Anyone who is suffering from a non-emergency illness is asked to contact their local GP surgery or their local pharmacist.

Mr Roberts added: "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."