AN appeal has been made by health bosses for Borderers to avoid Accident and Emergency.

NHS Borders say that exceptionally high demand at the hospital is leading to lengthy delays and a shortage of beds.

Nicky Berry, director of nursing, midwifery & acute services, 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 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 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. Visit for information on how to treat a wide range of minor ailments.

"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."